the world trade organization was formed in or

the world trade organization was formed in or

the world trade organization was formed in or
the world trade organization was formed in or

Världshandelsorganisationen (förkortas WTO från engelskans World Trade Organization) är en internationell organisation skapad med syfte att övervaka och liberalisera internationell handel. Organisationen är en produkt av Uruguayrundan och upprättades officiellt den 1 januari 1995,[5] genom Marrakechavtalet, och övertog och inkluderade då General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade-avtalet (GATT) från 1947.[6]

Världshandelsorganisationen arbetar med reglering av handel mellan deltagarländerna. Detta sker genom att organisationen tillhandahåller en struktur för förhandlingar och formalisering av handelsöverenskommelser, samt processer för konfliktlösning vilka har som mål att upprätthålla medlemsländernas följsamhet till de WTO-avtal som har blivit underskrivna av representanter för medlemsregeringarna och ratificerade av deras parlament.[7][8]

De flesta av de frågor som WTO fokuserar på härrör från tidigare handelsförhandlingar, särskilt från Uruguayrundan (1986–1994). Organisationen strävar i nuläget efter att hålla fast vid de handelsförhandlingar som går under namnet Doharundan, vilka påbörjades 2001 för att öka delaktigheten från fattigare länder, vilka representerar majoriteten av världens befolkning. Förhandlingarna har dock haft problem med att få deltagarna att enas om jordbruksfrågor och framtiden för Doharundan är osäker.[9]

År 2007 representerade WTO mer än 95 procent av den totala världshandeln.[10]

Världshandelsorganisationen ska inte förväxlas med Förenta nationernas kommission för internationell handelsrätt (UNCITRAL), den senare är ett FN-organ som arbetar med att harmonisera den lagstiftning som tillämpas på privata rättssubjekt i olika stater.[11]
the world trade organization was formed in or

Världshandelsorganisationen har 164 medlemsstater, sedan Afghanistan blev WTO:s 164:e medlemsstat den 29 juli 2016.[1]

Alla EU-länder är medlemmar, men låter Europeiska kommissionen föra sin talan i WTO eftersom EU:s medlemsländer har en gemensam handelspolitik.

Följande är medlemmar i FN men är varken medlem eller observatörer i WTO.

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  • Organisationen har tre huvudavtal:

    Utöver dessa avtal finns ett 50-tal avtal inom olika områden. Ett viktigt avtal är jordbruksavtalet AoA (Agreement on Agriculture) som behandlar tullar, subventioner och medlemsstaternas interna stöd till jordbrukssektorn. Avtalen är multilaterala och WTO:s medlemsstater förbinder sig i samband med inträde i organisationen att respektera reglerna i dessa avtal. Ett tvistlösningssystem finns etablerat för de fall där parterna inte är överens om hur avtalen ska tolkas.

    År 2001 påbörjades förhandlingar om förändringar och förbättringar i Världshandelsorganisationens handelsavtal men bröt senare samman.[12] Förhandlingarna går under beteckningen ”Doha Development Agenda” (Doharundan). Tidigare förhandlingsomgångar kallas Kennedyrundan (1964–1967), Tokyorundan (1973–1979) och Uruguayrundan (1986–1994); dessa ledde till skapande av avtalen och liberaliseringar i världshandeln – särskilt i form av tullsänkningar medlemmarna emellan. Kennedyrundan handlade endast om varuhandel inom ramen för GATT. I Tokyo- respektive Uruguayrundan behandlades även tjänster och intellektuella rättigheter.

    Processen för att bli tillsatt som WTO: s generaldirektör publicerades januari 2003.[14] Utöver generaldirektören så finns det fyra vice direktörer. Sedan 1 oktober 2013 är Roberto Azevedo och Yi Xiaozhun i Kina, Karl-Ernst Brauner i Tyskland, Yonov Frederick Agah i Nigeria och David Shark i USA är de fyra biträdande generaldirektörerna.[15]

    Källa: [16]

    (Generaldirektörer för den tidigare organisationen GATT):


    ”The World Trade Organization: Background and Issues”Downloads-icon


    http://nationalaglawcenter.org/wp-content/uploads/assets/crs/98-928.pdfDownloads-icon


    Chapter 10: Trade and Capital RestrictionDownloads-icon


    The World Trade Organization (WTO) is an intergovernmental organization which regulates international trade. The WTO officially commenced on 1 January 1995 under the Marrakesh Agreement, signed by 123 nations on 15 April 1994, replacing the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT), which commenced in 1948.[2] The WTO deals with regulation of trade between participating countries by providing a framework for negotiating trade agreements and a dispute resolution process aimed at enforcing participants’ adherence to WTO agreements, which is signed by representatives of member governments[3]: fol.9–10  and ratified by their parliaments.[4] Most of the issues that the WTO focuses on derive from previous trade negotiations, especially from the Uruguay Round (1986–1994).

    The World Trade Organization’s predecessor, the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT), was established after World War II in the wake of other new multilateral institutions dedicated to international economic cooperation – notably the Bretton Woods institutions known as the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund. A comparable international institution for trade named the International Trade Organization was successfully negotiated. The ITO was to be a United Nations specialized agency and would address not only trade barriers but other issues indirectly related to trade, including employment, investment, restrictive business practices, and commodity agreements. But the ITO treaty was not approved by the U.S. and a few other signatories and never went into effect.[5][6][7]

    In the absence of an international organization for trade, the GATT would over the years “transform itself” into a de facto international organization.[8]

    The GATT was the only multilateral instrument governing international trade from 1946 until the WTO was established on 1 January 1995.[9] Despite attempts in the mid-1950s and 1960s to create some form of institutional mechanism for international trade, the GATT continued to operate for almost half a century as a semi-institutionalized multilateral treaty regime on a provisional basis.[10]
    the world trade organization was formed in or

    Seven rounds of negotiations occurred under GATT. The first real GATT trade rounds concentrated on further reducing tariffs. Then, the Kennedy Round in the mid-sixties brought about a GATT anti-dumping Agreement and a section on development. The Tokyo Round during the seventies was the first major attempt to tackle trade barriers that do not take the form of tariffs, and to improve the system, adopting a series of agreements on non-tariff barriers, which in some cases interpreted existing GATT rules, and in others broke entirely new ground. Because these plurilateral agreements were not accepted by the full GATT membership, they were often informally called “codes.” Several of these codes were amended in the Uruguay Round and turned into multilateral commitments accepted by all the WTO members. Only four remained plurilateral (those on government procurement, bovine meat, civil aircraft, and dairy products), but in 1997 WTO members agreed to terminate the bovine meat and dairy agreements, leaving only two.[9]

    Well before GATT’s 40th anniversary, its members concluded that the GATT system was straining to adapt to a new globalizing world economy.[11][12] In response to the problems identified in the 1982 Ministerial Declaration (structural deficiencies, spill-over impacts of certain countries’ policies on world trade GATT could not manage, etc.), the eighth GATT round – known as the Uruguay Round – was launched in September 1986, in Punta del Este, Uruguay.[11]

    It was the biggest negotiating mandate on trade ever agreed: the talks were going to extend the trading system into several new areas, notably trade in services and intellectual property, and reforming trade in the sensitive sectors of agriculture and textiles; all the original GATT articles were up for review.[12] The Final Act concluding the Uruguay Round and officially establishing the WTO regime was signed 15 April 1994, during the ministerial meeting at Marrakesh, Morocco, and hence is known as the Marrakesh Agreement.[13]

    The GATT still exists as the WTO’s umbrella treaty for trade in goods, updated as a result of the Uruguay Round negotiations (a distinction is made between GATT 1994, the updated parts of GATT, and GATT 1947, the original agreement which is still the heart of GATT 1994).[11] GATT 1994 is not, however, the only legally binding agreement included via the Final Act at Marrakesh; a long list of about 60 agreements, annexes, decisions, and understandings was adopted. The agreements fall into a structure with six main parts:

    In terms of the WTO’s principle relating to tariff “ceiling-binding” (No. 3), the Uruguay Round has been successful in increasing binding commitments by both developed and developing countries, as may be seen in the percentages of tariffs bound before and after the 1986–1994 talks.[16]

    The highest decision-making body of the WTO is the Ministerial Conference, which usually meets every two years. It brings together all members of the WTO, all of which are countries or customs unions. The Ministerial Conference can take decisions on all matters under any of the multilateral trade agreements.

  • what country has the most donut shops per
  • The WTO General Council, on 26 May 2009, agreed to hold a seventh WTO ministerial conference session in Geneva from 30 November–3 December 2009. A statement by chairman Amb. Mario Matus acknowledged that the prime purpose was to remedy a breach of protocol requiring two-yearly “regular” meetings, which had lapsed with the Doha Round failure in 2005, and that the “scaled-down” meeting would not be a negotiating session, but “emphasis will be on transparency and open discussion rather than on small group processes and informal negotiating structures”. The general theme for discussion was “The WTO, the Multilateral Trading System and the Current Global Economic Environment”[18]

    The WTO launched the current round of negotiations, the Doha Development Round, at the fourth ministerial conference in Doha, Qatar in November 2001. This was an ambitious effort to make globalization more inclusive and help the world’s poor, particularly by slashing barriers and subsidies in farming.[19] The initial agenda comprised both further trade liberalization and new rule-making, underpinned by commitments to strengthen substantial assistance to developing countries.[20]

    The negotiations have been highly contentious. Disagreements continue over several key areas including agriculture subsidies, which emerged as critical in July 2006.[21] According to a European Union statement, “The 2008 Ministerial meeting broke down over a disagreement between exporters of agricultural bulk commodities and countries with large numbers of subsistence farmers on the precise terms of a ‘special safeguard measure’ to protect farmers from surges in imports.”[22] The position of the European Commission is that “The successful conclusion of the Doha negotiations would confirm the central role of multilateral liberalisation and rule-making. It would confirm the WTO as a powerful shield against protectionist backsliding.”[20] An impasse remains and, as of August 2013[update], agreement has not been reached, despite intense negotiations at several ministerial conferences and at other sessions. On 27 March 2013, the chairman of agriculture talks announced “a proposal to loosen price support disciplines for developing countries’ public stocks and domestic food aid.” He added: “…we are not yet close to agreement—in fact, the substantive discussion of the proposal is only beginning.”[23]


    Understanding the WTODownloads-icon


    “The World Trade Organization: Background and Issues”Downloads-icon


    “World Trade Organization Negotiations: The Doha Development Agenda”Downloads-icon


    Chapter 10: Trade and Capital RestrictionDownloads-icon


    The World Trade Organization (WTO) is an intergovernmental organization which regulates international trade. The WTO officially commenced on 1 January 1995 under the Marrakesh Agreement, signed by 123 nations on 15 April 1994, replacing the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT), which commenced in 1948.[2] The WTO deals with regulation of trade between participating countries by providing a framework for negotiating trade agreements and a dispute resolution process aimed at enforcing participants’ adherence to WTO agreements, which is signed by representatives of member governments[3]: fol.9–10  and ratified by their parliaments.[4] Most of the issues that the WTO focuses on derive from previous trade negotiations, especially from the Uruguay Round (1986–1994).

    The World Trade Organization’s predecessor, the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT), was established after World War II in the wake of other new multilateral institutions dedicated to international economic cooperation – notably the Bretton Woods institutions known as the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund. A comparable international institution for trade named the International Trade Organization was successfully negotiated. The ITO was to be a United Nations specialized agency and would address not only trade barriers but other issues indirectly related to trade, including employment, investment, restrictive business practices, and commodity agreements. But the ITO treaty was not approved by the U.S. and a few other signatories and never went into effect.[5][6][7]

    In the absence of an international organization for trade, the GATT would over the years “transform itself” into a de facto international organization.[8]

    The GATT was the only multilateral instrument governing international trade from 1946 until the WTO was established on 1 January 1995.[9] Despite attempts in the mid-1950s and 1960s to create some form of institutional mechanism for international trade, the GATT continued to operate for almost half a century as a semi-institutionalized multilateral treaty regime on a provisional basis.[10]
    the world trade organization was formed in or

    Seven rounds of negotiations occurred under GATT. The first real GATT trade rounds concentrated on further reducing tariffs. Then, the Kennedy Round in the mid-sixties brought about a GATT anti-dumping Agreement and a section on development. The Tokyo Round during the seventies was the first major attempt to tackle trade barriers that do not take the form of tariffs, and to improve the system, adopting a series of agreements on non-tariff barriers, which in some cases interpreted existing GATT rules, and in others broke entirely new ground. Because these plurilateral agreements were not accepted by the full GATT membership, they were often informally called “codes.” Several of these codes were amended in the Uruguay Round and turned into multilateral commitments accepted by all the WTO members. Only four remained plurilateral (those on government procurement, bovine meat, civil aircraft, and dairy products), but in 1997 WTO members agreed to terminate the bovine meat and dairy agreements, leaving only two.[9]

    Well before GATT’s 40th anniversary, its members concluded that the GATT system was straining to adapt to a new globalizing world economy.[11][12] In response to the problems identified in the 1982 Ministerial Declaration (structural deficiencies, spill-over impacts of certain countries’ policies on world trade GATT could not manage, etc.), the eighth GATT round – known as the Uruguay Round – was launched in September 1986, in Punta del Este, Uruguay.[11]

    It was the biggest negotiating mandate on trade ever agreed: the talks were going to extend the trading system into several new areas, notably trade in services and intellectual property, and reforming trade in the sensitive sectors of agriculture and textiles; all the original GATT articles were up for review.[12] The Final Act concluding the Uruguay Round and officially establishing the WTO regime was signed 15 April 1994, during the ministerial meeting at Marrakesh, Morocco, and hence is known as the Marrakesh Agreement.[13]

    The GATT still exists as the WTO’s umbrella treaty for trade in goods, updated as a result of the Uruguay Round negotiations (a distinction is made between GATT 1994, the updated parts of GATT, and GATT 1947, the original agreement which is still the heart of GATT 1994).[11] GATT 1994 is not, however, the only legally binding agreement included via the Final Act at Marrakesh; a long list of about 60 agreements, annexes, decisions, and understandings was adopted. The agreements fall into a structure with six main parts:

    In terms of the WTO’s principle relating to tariff “ceiling-binding” (No. 3), the Uruguay Round has been successful in increasing binding commitments by both developed and developing countries, as may be seen in the percentages of tariffs bound before and after the 1986–1994 talks.[16]

    The highest decision-making body of the WTO is the Ministerial Conference, which usually meets every two years. It brings together all members of the WTO, all of which are countries or customs unions. The Ministerial Conference can take decisions on all matters under any of the multilateral trade agreements.

  • emma watson’s father chris watson
  • The WTO General Council, on 26 May 2009, agreed to hold a seventh WTO ministerial conference session in Geneva from 30 November–3 December 2009. A statement by chairman Amb. Mario Matus acknowledged that the prime purpose was to remedy a breach of protocol requiring two-yearly “regular” meetings, which had lapsed with the Doha Round failure in 2005, and that the “scaled-down” meeting would not be a negotiating session, but “emphasis will be on transparency and open discussion rather than on small group processes and informal negotiating structures”. The general theme for discussion was “The WTO, the Multilateral Trading System and the Current Global Economic Environment”[18]

    The WTO launched the current round of negotiations, the Doha Development Round, at the fourth ministerial conference in Doha, Qatar in November 2001. This was an ambitious effort to make globalization more inclusive and help the world’s poor, particularly by slashing barriers and subsidies in farming.[19] The initial agenda comprised both further trade liberalization and new rule-making, underpinned by commitments to strengthen substantial assistance to developing countries.[20]

    The negotiations have been highly contentious. Disagreements continue over several key areas including agriculture subsidies, which emerged as critical in July 2006.[21] According to a European Union statement, “The 2008 Ministerial meeting broke down over a disagreement between exporters of agricultural bulk commodities and countries with large numbers of subsistence farmers on the precise terms of a ‘special safeguard measure’ to protect farmers from surges in imports.”[22] The position of the European Commission is that “The successful conclusion of the Doha negotiations would confirm the central role of multilateral liberalisation and rule-making. It would confirm the WTO as a powerful shield against protectionist backsliding.”[20] An impasse remains and, as of August 2013[update], agreement has not been reached, despite intense negotiations at several ministerial conferences and at other sessions. On 27 March 2013, the chairman of agriculture talks announced “a proposal to loosen price support disciplines for developing countries’ public stocks and domestic food aid.” He added: “…we are not yet close to agreement—in fact, the substantive discussion of the proposal is only beginning.”[23]


    Understanding the WTODownloads-icon


    “The World Trade Organization: Background and Issues”Downloads-icon


    “World Trade Organization Negotiations: The Doha Development Agenda”Downloads-icon


    Chapter 10: Trade and Capital RestrictionDownloads-icon


    The World Trade Organization (WTO) is an intergovernmental organization which regulates international trade. The WTO officially commenced on 1 January 1995 under the Marrakesh Agreement, signed by 123 nations on 15 April 1994, replacing the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT), which commenced in 1948.[2] The WTO deals with regulation of trade between participating countries by providing a framework for negotiating trade agreements and a dispute resolution process aimed at enforcing participants’ adherence to WTO agreements, which is signed by representatives of member governments[3]: fol.9–10  and ratified by their parliaments.[4] Most of the issues that the WTO focuses on derive from previous trade negotiations, especially from the Uruguay Round (1986–1994).

    The World Trade Organization’s predecessor, the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT), was established after World War II in the wake of other new multilateral institutions dedicated to international economic cooperation – notably the Bretton Woods institutions known as the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund. A comparable international institution for trade named the International Trade Organization was successfully negotiated. The ITO was to be a United Nations specialized agency and would address not only trade barriers but other issues indirectly related to trade, including employment, investment, restrictive business practices, and commodity agreements. But the ITO treaty was not approved by the U.S. and a few other signatories and never went into effect.[5][6][7]

    In the absence of an international organization for trade, the GATT would over the years “transform itself” into a de facto international organization.[8]

    The GATT was the only multilateral instrument governing international trade from 1946 until the WTO was established on 1 January 1995.[9] Despite attempts in the mid-1950s and 1960s to create some form of institutional mechanism for international trade, the GATT continued to operate for almost half a century as a semi-institutionalized multilateral treaty regime on a provisional basis.[10]
    the world trade organization was formed in or

    Seven rounds of negotiations occurred under GATT. The first real GATT trade rounds concentrated on further reducing tariffs. Then, the Kennedy Round in the mid-sixties brought about a GATT anti-dumping Agreement and a section on development. The Tokyo Round during the seventies was the first major attempt to tackle trade barriers that do not take the form of tariffs, and to improve the system, adopting a series of agreements on non-tariff barriers, which in some cases interpreted existing GATT rules, and in others broke entirely new ground. Because these plurilateral agreements were not accepted by the full GATT membership, they were often informally called “codes.” Several of these codes were amended in the Uruguay Round and turned into multilateral commitments accepted by all the WTO members. Only four remained plurilateral (those on government procurement, bovine meat, civil aircraft, and dairy products), but in 1997 WTO members agreed to terminate the bovine meat and dairy agreements, leaving only two.[9]

    Well before GATT’s 40th anniversary, its members concluded that the GATT system was straining to adapt to a new globalizing world economy.[11][12] In response to the problems identified in the 1982 Ministerial Declaration (structural deficiencies, spill-over impacts of certain countries’ policies on world trade GATT could not manage, etc.), the eighth GATT round – known as the Uruguay Round – was launched in September 1986, in Punta del Este, Uruguay.[11]

    It was the biggest negotiating mandate on trade ever agreed: the talks were going to extend the trading system into several new areas, notably trade in services and intellectual property, and reforming trade in the sensitive sectors of agriculture and textiles; all the original GATT articles were up for review.[12] The Final Act concluding the Uruguay Round and officially establishing the WTO regime was signed 15 April 1994, during the ministerial meeting at Marrakesh, Morocco, and hence is known as the Marrakesh Agreement.[13]

    The GATT still exists as the WTO’s umbrella treaty for trade in goods, updated as a result of the Uruguay Round negotiations (a distinction is made between GATT 1994, the updated parts of GATT, and GATT 1947, the original agreement which is still the heart of GATT 1994).[11] GATT 1994 is not, however, the only legally binding agreement included via the Final Act at Marrakesh; a long list of about 60 agreements, annexes, decisions, and understandings was adopted. The agreements fall into a structure with six main parts:

    In terms of the WTO’s principle relating to tariff “ceiling-binding” (No. 3), the Uruguay Round has been successful in increasing binding commitments by both developed and developing countries, as may be seen in the percentages of tariffs bound before and after the 1986–1994 talks.[16]

    The highest decision-making body of the WTO is the Ministerial Conference, which usually meets every two years. It brings together all members of the WTO, all of which are countries or customs unions. The Ministerial Conference can take decisions on all matters under any of the multilateral trade agreements.

  • tp-39 why should bilges be kept clean
  • The WTO General Council, on 26 May 2009, agreed to hold a seventh WTO ministerial conference session in Geneva from 30 November–3 December 2009. A statement by chairman Amb. Mario Matus acknowledged that the prime purpose was to remedy a breach of protocol requiring two-yearly “regular” meetings, which had lapsed with the Doha Round failure in 2005, and that the “scaled-down” meeting would not be a negotiating session, but “emphasis will be on transparency and open discussion rather than on small group processes and informal negotiating structures”. The general theme for discussion was “The WTO, the Multilateral Trading System and the Current Global Economic Environment”[18]

    The WTO launched the current round of negotiations, the Doha Development Round, at the fourth ministerial conference in Doha, Qatar in November 2001. This was an ambitious effort to make globalization more inclusive and help the world’s poor, particularly by slashing barriers and subsidies in farming.[19] The initial agenda comprised both further trade liberalization and new rule-making, underpinned by commitments to strengthen substantial assistance to developing countries.[20]

    The negotiations have been highly contentious. Disagreements continue over several key areas including agriculture subsidies, which emerged as critical in July 2006.[21] According to a European Union statement, “The 2008 Ministerial meeting broke down over a disagreement between exporters of agricultural bulk commodities and countries with large numbers of subsistence farmers on the precise terms of a ‘special safeguard measure’ to protect farmers from surges in imports.”[22] The position of the European Commission is that “The successful conclusion of the Doha negotiations would confirm the central role of multilateral liberalisation and rule-making. It would confirm the WTO as a powerful shield against protectionist backsliding.”[20] An impasse remains and, as of August 2013[update], agreement has not been reached, despite intense negotiations at several ministerial conferences and at other sessions. On 27 March 2013, the chairman of agriculture talks announced “a proposal to loosen price support disciplines for developing countries’ public stocks and domestic food aid.” He added: “…we are not yet close to agreement—in fact, the substantive discussion of the proposal is only beginning.”[23]


    Understanding the WTODownloads-icon


    “The World Trade Organization: Background and Issues”Downloads-icon


    “World Trade Organization Negotiations: The Doha Development Agenda”Downloads-icon


    Chapter 10: Trade and Capital RestrictionDownloads-icon


    The World Trade Organization (WTO) is an intergovernmental organization which regulates international trade. The WTO officially commenced on 1 January 1995 under the Marrakesh Agreement, signed by 123 nations on 15 April 1994, replacing the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT), which commenced in 1948.[2] The WTO deals with regulation of trade between participating countries by providing a framework for negotiating trade agreements and a dispute resolution process aimed at enforcing participants’ adherence to WTO agreements, which is signed by representatives of member governments[3]: fol.9–10  and ratified by their parliaments.[4] Most of the issues that the WTO focuses on derive from previous trade negotiations, especially from the Uruguay Round (1986–1994).

    The World Trade Organization’s predecessor, the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT), was established after World War II in the wake of other new multilateral institutions dedicated to international economic cooperation – notably the Bretton Woods institutions known as the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund. A comparable international institution for trade named the International Trade Organization was successfully negotiated. The ITO was to be a United Nations specialized agency and would address not only trade barriers but other issues indirectly related to trade, including employment, investment, restrictive business practices, and commodity agreements. But the ITO treaty was not approved by the U.S. and a few other signatories and never went into effect.[5][6][7]

    In the absence of an international organization for trade, the GATT would over the years “transform itself” into a de facto international organization.[8]

    The GATT was the only multilateral instrument governing international trade from 1946 until the WTO was established on 1 January 1995.[9] Despite attempts in the mid-1950s and 1960s to create some form of institutional mechanism for international trade, the GATT continued to operate for almost half a century as a semi-institutionalized multilateral treaty regime on a provisional basis.[10]
    the world trade organization was formed in or

    Seven rounds of negotiations occurred under GATT. The first real GATT trade rounds concentrated on further reducing tariffs. Then, the Kennedy Round in the mid-sixties brought about a GATT anti-dumping Agreement and a section on development. The Tokyo Round during the seventies was the first major attempt to tackle trade barriers that do not take the form of tariffs, and to improve the system, adopting a series of agreements on non-tariff barriers, which in some cases interpreted existing GATT rules, and in others broke entirely new ground. Because these plurilateral agreements were not accepted by the full GATT membership, they were often informally called “codes.” Several of these codes were amended in the Uruguay Round and turned into multilateral commitments accepted by all the WTO members. Only four remained plurilateral (those on government procurement, bovine meat, civil aircraft, and dairy products), but in 1997 WTO members agreed to terminate the bovine meat and dairy agreements, leaving only two.[9]

    Well before GATT’s 40th anniversary, its members concluded that the GATT system was straining to adapt to a new globalizing world economy.[11][12] In response to the problems identified in the 1982 Ministerial Declaration (structural deficiencies, spill-over impacts of certain countries’ policies on world trade GATT could not manage, etc.), the eighth GATT round – known as the Uruguay Round – was launched in September 1986, in Punta del Este, Uruguay.[11]

    It was the biggest negotiating mandate on trade ever agreed: the talks were going to extend the trading system into several new areas, notably trade in services and intellectual property, and reforming trade in the sensitive sectors of agriculture and textiles; all the original GATT articles were up for review.[12] The Final Act concluding the Uruguay Round and officially establishing the WTO regime was signed 15 April 1994, during the ministerial meeting at Marrakesh, Morocco, and hence is known as the Marrakesh Agreement.[13]

    The GATT still exists as the WTO’s umbrella treaty for trade in goods, updated as a result of the Uruguay Round negotiations (a distinction is made between GATT 1994, the updated parts of GATT, and GATT 1947, the original agreement which is still the heart of GATT 1994).[11] GATT 1994 is not, however, the only legally binding agreement included via the Final Act at Marrakesh; a long list of about 60 agreements, annexes, decisions, and understandings was adopted. The agreements fall into a structure with six main parts:

    In terms of the WTO’s principle relating to tariff “ceiling-binding” (No. 3), the Uruguay Round has been successful in increasing binding commitments by both developed and developing countries, as may be seen in the percentages of tariffs bound before and after the 1986–1994 talks.[16]

    The highest decision-making body of the WTO is the Ministerial Conference, which usually meets every two years. It brings together all members of the WTO, all of which are countries or customs unions. The Ministerial Conference can take decisions on all matters under any of the multilateral trade agreements.

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  • The WTO General Council, on 26 May 2009, agreed to hold a seventh WTO ministerial conference session in Geneva from 30 November–3 December 2009. A statement by chairman Amb. Mario Matus acknowledged that the prime purpose was to remedy a breach of protocol requiring two-yearly “regular” meetings, which had lapsed with the Doha Round failure in 2005, and that the “scaled-down” meeting would not be a negotiating session, but “emphasis will be on transparency and open discussion rather than on small group processes and informal negotiating structures”. The general theme for discussion was “The WTO, the Multilateral Trading System and the Current Global Economic Environment”[18]

    The WTO launched the current round of negotiations, the Doha Development Round, at the fourth ministerial conference in Doha, Qatar in November 2001. This was an ambitious effort to make globalization more inclusive and help the world’s poor, particularly by slashing barriers and subsidies in farming.[19] The initial agenda comprised both further trade liberalization and new rule-making, underpinned by commitments to strengthen substantial assistance to developing countries.[20]

    The negotiations have been highly contentious. Disagreements continue over several key areas including agriculture subsidies, which emerged as critical in July 2006.[21] According to a European Union statement, “The 2008 Ministerial meeting broke down over a disagreement between exporters of agricultural bulk commodities and countries with large numbers of subsistence farmers on the precise terms of a ‘special safeguard measure’ to protect farmers from surges in imports.”[22] The position of the European Commission is that “The successful conclusion of the Doha negotiations would confirm the central role of multilateral liberalisation and rule-making. It would confirm the WTO as a powerful shield against protectionist backsliding.”[20] An impasse remains and, as of August 2013[update], agreement has not been reached, despite intense negotiations at several ministerial conferences and at other sessions. On 27 March 2013, the chairman of agriculture talks announced “a proposal to loosen price support disciplines for developing countries’ public stocks and domestic food aid.” He added: “…we are not yet close to agreement—in fact, the substantive discussion of the proposal is only beginning.”[23]


    Understanding the WTODownloads-icon


    “The World Trade Organization: Background and Issues”Downloads-icon


    “World Trade Organization Negotiations: The Doha Development Agenda”Downloads-icon


    Chapter 10: Trade and Capital RestrictionDownloads-icon

    The World Trade Organization (WTO) is an intergovernmental organization that regulates and facilitates international trade between nations.[6] Governments use the organization to establish, revise, and enforce the rules that govern international trade.[6] It officially commenced operations on 1 January 1995, pursuant to the 1994 Marrakesh Agreement, thus replacing the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) that had been established in 1948. The WTO is the world’s largest international economic organization, with 164 member states representing over 98% of global trade and global GDP.[7][8][9]

    The WTO facilitates trade in goods, services and intellectual property among participating countries by providing a framework for negotiating trade agreements, which usually aim to reduce or eliminate tariffs, quotas, and other restrictions; these agreements are signed by representatives of member governments[10]: fol.9–10  and ratified by their legislatures.[11] The WTO also administers independent dispute resolution for enforcing participants’ adherence to trade agreements and resolving trade-related disputes.[12] The organization prohibits discrimination between trading partners, but provides exceptions for environmental protection, national security, and other important goals.[12]

    The WTO is headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland.[13] Its top decision-making body is the Ministerial Conference, which is composed of all member states and usually convenes biennially; consensus is emphasized in all decisions.[14] Day-to-day functions are handled by the General Council, made up of representatives from all members.[15] A Secretariat of over 600 personnel, led by the Director-General and four deputies, provides administrative, professional, and technical services.[16] The WTO’s annual budget is roughly 220 million USD, which is contributed by members based on their proportion of international trade.[17]

    Studies show the WTO has boosted trade and reduced trade barriers.[18][19][12][20][6] It has also influenced trade agreement generally; a 2017 analysis found that the vast majority of preferential trade agreements (PTAs) up to that point explicitly reference the WTO, with substantial portions of text copied from WTO agreements.[21] Goal 10 of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals also referenced WTO agreements as instruments of reducing inequality.[22] However, critics contend that the benefits of WTO-facilitated free trade are not shared equally, citing the outcomes of negotiations and data showing a continually widening gap between rich and poor nations.[23][24]
    the world trade organization was formed in or

    The WTO precursor General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT), was established by a multilateral treaty of 23 countries in 1947 after World War II in the wake of other new multilateral institutions dedicated to international economic cooperation—such as the World Bank (founded 1944) and the International Monetary Fund (founded 1944 or 1945). A comparable international institution for trade, named the International Trade Organization never started as the U.S. and other signatories did not ratify the establishment treaty,[26][27][28] and so GATT slowly became a de facto international organization.[29]

    Seven rounds of negotiations occurred under GATT (1949 to 1979). The first real[citation needed] GATT trade rounds (1947 to 1960) concentrated on further reducing tariffs. Then the Kennedy Round in the mid-sixties brought about a GATT anti-dumping agreement and a section on development. The Tokyo Round during the seventies represented the first major attempt to tackle trade barriers that do not take the form of tariffs, and to improve the system, adopting a series of agreements on non-tariff barriers, which in some cases interpreted existing GATT rules, and in others broke entirely new ground. Because not all GATT members accepted these plurilateral agreements, they were often informally called “codes”. (The Uruguay Round amended several of these codes and turned them into multilateral commitments accepted by all WTO members. Only four remained plurilateral (those on government procurement, bovine meat, civil aircraft, and dairy products), but in 1997 WTO members agreed to terminate the bovine meat and dairy agreements, leaving only two.[30]) Despite attempts in the mid-1950s and 1960s to establish some form of institutional mechanism for international trade, the GATT continued to operate for almost half a century as a semi-institutionalized multilateral treaty régime on a provisional basis.[31]

    Well before GATT’s 40th anniversary, its members concluded that the GATT system was straining to adapt to a new globalizing world economy.[32][33] In response to the problems identified in the 1982 Ministerial Declaration (structural deficiencies, spill-over impacts of certain countries’ policies on world trade GATT could not manage, etc.), the eighth GATT round—known as the Uruguay Round—was launched in September 1986, in Punta del Este, Uruguay.[32]

    It was the biggest negotiating mandate on trade ever agreed: the talks aimed to extend the trading system into several new areas, notably trade in services and intellectual property, and to reform trade in the sensitive sectors of agriculture and textiles; all the original GATT articles were up for review.[33] The Final Act concluding the Uruguay Round and officially establishing the WTO regime was signed 15 April 1994, during the ministerial meeting at Marrakesh, Morocco, and hence is known as the Marrakesh Agreement.[34]

    The GATT still exists as the WTO’s umbrella treaty for trade in goods, updated as a result of the Uruguay Round negotiations (a distinction is made between GATT 1994, the updated parts of GATT, and GATT 1947, the original agreement which is still the heart of GATT 1994).[32] GATT 1994 is not, however, the only legally binding agreement included via the Final Act at Marrakesh; a long list of about 60 agreements, annexes, decisions, and understandings was adopted. The agreements fall into six main parts:

    In terms of the WTO’s principle relating to tariff “ceiling-binding” (No. 3), the Uruguay Round has been successful in increasing binding commitments by both developed and developing countries, as may be seen in the percentages of tariffs bound before and after the 1986–1994 talks.[38]

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  • The highest decision-making body of the WTO, the Ministerial Conference, usually meets every two years.[39] It brings together all members of the WTO, all of which are countries or customs unions. The Ministerial Conference can take decisions on all matters under any of the multilateral trade agreements. Some meetings, such as the inaugural ministerial conference in Singapore and the Cancun conference in 2003[40] involved arguments between developed and developing economies referred to as the “Singapore issues” such as agricultural subsidies; while others such as the Seattle conference in 1999 provoked large demonstrations. The fourth ministerial conference in Doha in 2001 approved China’s entry to the WTO and launched the Doha Development Round which was supplemented by the sixth WTO ministerial conference (in Hong Kong) which agreed to phase out agricultural export subsidies and to adopt the European Union’s Everything but Arms initiative to phase out tariffs for goods from the Least Developed Countries. At the sixth WTO Ministerial Conference of 2005 in December, WTO launched the Aid for Trade initiative and it is specifically to assist developing countries in trade as included in the Sustainable Development Goal 8 which is to increase aid for trade support and economic growth.[41]

    The Twelfth Ministerial Conference (MC12) was due to be held in Nur-Sultan, Kazakhstan, in June 2020 but was canceled because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

    The WTO launched the current round of negotiations, the Doha Development Round, at the fourth ministerial conference in Doha, Qatar in November 2001. This was to be an ambitious effort to make globalization more inclusive and help the world’s poor, particularly by slashing barriers and subsidies in farming.[42] The initial agenda comprised both further trade liberalization and new rule-making, underpinned by commitments to strengthen substantial assistance to developing countries.[43]

    Progress stalled over differences between developed nations and the major developing countries on issues such as industrial tariffs and non-tariff barriers to trade[44] particularly against and between the EU and the US over their maintenance of agricultural subsidies—seen to operate effectively as trade barriers. Repeated attempts to revive the talks proved unsuccessful,[45] though the adoption of the Bali Ministerial Declaration in 2013[46] addressed bureaucratic barriers to commerce.[47]

    As of June 2012[update], the future of the Doha Round remained uncertain: the work programme lists 21 subjects in which the original deadline of 1 January 2005 was missed, and the round remains incomplete.[48] The conflict between free trade on industrial goods and services but retention of protectionism on farm subsidies to domestic agricultural sectors (requested by developed countries) and the substantiation[jargon] of fair trade on agricultural products (requested by developing countries) remain the major obstacles. This impasse has made it impossible to launch new WTO negotiations beyond the Doha Development Round. As a result, there have been an increasing number of bilateral free trade agreements between governments.[49] As of July 2012[update] there were various negotiation groups in the WTO system for the current stalemated agricultural trade negotiation.[50]

    Among the various functions of the WTO, these are regarded by analysts as the most important:

    Additionally, it is WTO’s duty to review and propagate the national trade policies and to ensure the coherence and transparency of trade policies through surveillance in global economic policy-making.[52][54] Another priority of the WTO is the assistance of developing, least-developed and low-income countries in transition to adjust to WTO rules and disciplines through technical cooperation and training.[55]

    The above five listings are the additional functions of the World Trade Organization. As globalization proceeds in today’s society, the necessity of an International Organization to manage the trading systems has been of vital importance. As the trade volume increases, issues such as protectionism, trade barriers, subsidies, violation of intellectual property arise due to the differences in the trading rules of every nation. The World Trade Organization serves as the mediator between the nations when such problems arise. WTO could be referred to as the product of globalization and also as one of the most important organizations in today’s globalized society.

    The WTO is also a center of economic research and analysis: regular assessments of the global trade picture in its annual publications and research reports on specific topics are produced by the organization.[57] Finally, the WTO cooperates closely with the two other components of the Bretton Woods system, the IMF and the World Bank.[53]

    The WTO establishes a framework for trade policies; it does not define or specify outcomes. That is, it is concerned with setting the rules of “trade policy.” Five principles are of particular importance in understanding both the pre-1994 GATT and the WTO:

    There are three types of provision in this direction:

    Exceptions to the MFN principle also allow for preferential treatment of developing countries, regional free trade areas and customs unions.[10]: fol.93 

    The highest authority of the WTO is the Ministerial Conference, which must meet at least every two years.[63]

    In between each Ministerial Conference, the daily work is handled by three bodies whose membership is the same; they only differ by the terms of reference under which each body is constituted.[63]

    The General Council, whose Chair as of 2020 is David Walker of New Zealand,[64] has the following subsidiary bodies which oversee committees in different areas:

    The Service Council has three subsidiary bodies: financial services, domestic regulations, GATS rules, and specific commitments.[65] The council has several different committees, working groups, and working parties.[69] There are committees on the following: Trade and Environment; Trade and Development (Subcommittee on Least-Developed Countries); Regional Trade Agreements; Balance of Payments Restrictions; and Budget, Finance and Administration. There are working parties on the following: Accession. There are working groups on the following: Trade, debt and finance; and Trade and technology transfer.

    As of 31 December 2019, the number of WTO staff on a regular budget is 338 women and 285 men.[70]

    The WTO describes itself as “a rules-based, member-driven organization—all decisions are made by the member governments, and the rules are the outcome of negotiations among members”.[71] The WTO Agreement foresees votes where consensus cannot be reached, but the practice of consensus dominates the process of decision-making.[72]

    Richard Harold Steinberg (2002) argues that although the WTO’s consensus governance model provides law-based initial bargaining, trading rounds close through power-based bargaining favoring Europe and the U.S., and may not lead to Pareto improvement.[73]

    The WTO’s dispute-settlement system “is the result of the evolution of rules, procedures and practices developed over almost half a century under the GATT 1947”.[74] In 1994, the WTO members agreed on the Understanding on Rules and Procedures Governing the Settlement of Disputes (DSU) annexed to the “Final Act” signed in Marrakesh in 1994.[75] Dispute settlement is regarded by the WTO as the central pillar of the multilateral trading system, and as a “unique contribution to the stability of the global economy”.[76] WTO members have agreed that, if they believe fellow-members are violating trade rules, they will use the multilateral system of settling disputes instead of taking action unilaterally.[77]

    The operation of the WTO dispute settlement process involves case-specific panels[78] appointed by the Dispute Settlement Body (DSB),[79] the Appellate Body,[80] The Director-General and the WTO Secretariat,[81] arbitrators,[82] and advisory experts.[83]

    The priority is to settle disputes, preferably through a mutually agreed solution, and provision has been made for the process to be conducted in an efficient and timely manner so that “If a case is adjudicated, it should normally take no more than one year for a panel ruling and no more than 16 months if the case is appealed… If the complainant deems the case urgent, consideration of the case should take even less time.[84] WTO member nations are obliged to accept the process as exclusive and compulsory.[85]

    According to a 2018 study in the Journal of Politics, states are less likely and slower to enforce WTO violations when the violations affect states in a diffuse manner.[86] This is because states face collective action problems with pursuing litigation: they all expect other states to carry the costs of litigation.[86] A 2016 study in International Studies Quarterly challenges that the WTO dispute settlement system leads to greater increases in trade.[87]

    However, the dispute settlement system cannot be used to resolve trade disputes that arise from political disagreements. When Qatar requested the establishment of a dispute panel concerning measures imposed by the UAE, other GCC countries and the US were quick to dismiss its request as a political matter, stating that national security issues were political and not appropriate for the WTO dispute system.[88]

    The process of becoming a WTO member is unique to each applicant country, and the terms of accession are dependent upon the country’s stage of economic development and the current trade regime.[89] The process takes about five years, on average, but it can last longer if the country is less than fully committed to the process or if political issues interfere. The shortest accession negotiation was that of the Kyrgyz Republic, while the longest was that of Russia, which, having first applied to join GATT in 1993, was approved for membership in December 2011 and became a WTO member on 22 August 2012.[90] Kazakhstan also had a long accession negotiation process. The Working Party on the Accession of Kazakhstan was established in 1996 and was approved for membership in 2015.[91] The second longest was that of Vanuatu, whose Working Party on the Accession of Vanuatu was established on 11 July 1995. After a final meeting of the Working Party in October 2001, Vanuatu requested more time to consider its accession terms. In 2008, it indicated its interest to resume and conclude its WTO accession. The Working Party on the Accession of Vanuatu was reconvened informally on 4 April 2011 to discuss Vanuatu’s future WTO membership. The re-convened Working Party completed its mandate on 2 May 2011. The General Council formally approved the Accession Package of Vanuatu on 26 October 2011. On 24 August 2012, the WTO welcomed Vanuatu as its 157th member.[92] An offer of accession is only given once consensus is reached among interested parties.[93]

    A 2017 study argues that “political ties rather than issue-area functional gains determine who joins” and shows “how geopolitical alignment shapes the demand and supply sides of membership”.[94] The “findings challenge the view that states first liberalize trade to join the GATT/WTO. Instead, democracy and foreign policy similarity encourage states to join.”[94]

    A country wishing to accede to the WTO submits an application to the General Council, and has to describe all aspects of its trade and economic policies that have a bearing on WTO agreements.[96] The application is submitted to the WTO in a memorandum which is examined by a working party open to all interested WTO Members.[97]

    After all necessary background information has been acquired, the working party focuses on issues of discrepancy between the WTO rules and the applicant’s international and domestic trade policies and laws. The working party determines the terms and conditions of entry into the WTO for the applicant nation and may consider transitional periods to allow countries some leeway in complying with the WTO rules.[89]

    The final phase of accession involves bilateral negotiations between the applicant nation and other working party members regarding the concessions and commitments on tariff levels and market access for goods and services. The new member’s commitments are to apply equally to all WTO members under normal non-discrimination rules, even though they are negotiated bilaterally.[96] For instance, as a result of joining the WTO, Armenia offered a 15 per cent ceiling bound tariff rate on accessing its market for goods. Together with the tariff bindings being ad valorem there are no specific or compound rates. Moreover, there are no tariff-rate quotas on both industrial and agricultural products.[98] Armenia’s economic and trade performance growth was noted since its first review in 2010, especially its revival from the 2008 global financial crisis, with an average annual 4% GDP growth rate, despite some fluctuations. Armenia’s economy was marked by low inflation, diminishing poverty, and essential progress in enhancing its macroeconomic steadiness in which trade in goods and services, which is the equivalent of 87% of GDP, played a growing role.[99]
    the world trade organization was formed in or

    When the bilateral talks conclude, the working party sends to the general council or ministerial conference an accession package, which includes a summary of all the working party meetings, the Protocol of Accession (a draft membership treaty), and lists (“schedules”) of the member to be commitments. Once the general council or ministerial conference approves of the terms of accession, the applicant’s parliament must ratify the Protocol of Accession before it can become a member.[100] Some countries may have faced tougher and a much longer accession process due to challenges during negotiations with other WTO members, such as Vietnam, whose negotiations took more than 11 years before it became an official member in January 2007.[101]

    The WTO has 164 members and 25 observer governments.[102] Liberia became the 163rd member on 14 July 2016, and Afghanistan became the 164th member on 29 July 2016.[103][104] In addition to states, the European Union, and each EU country in its own right,[105] is a member. WTO members do not have to be fully independent states; they need only be a customs territory with full autonomy in the conduct of their external commercial relations. Thus Hong Kong has been a member since 1995 (as “Hong Kong, China” since 1997) predating the People’s Republic of China, which joined in 2001 after 15 years of negotiations. Taiwan acceded to the WTO in 2002 as the “Separate Customs Territory of Taiwan, Penghu, Kinmen and Matsu.”[106] The WTO Secretariat omits the official titles (such as Counsellor, First Secretary, Second Secretary and Third Secretary) of the members of Taiwan’s Permanent Mission to the WTO, except for the titles of the Permanent Representative and the Deputy Permanent Representative.[107]

    As of 2007, WTO member states represented 96.4% of global trade and 96.7% of global GDP.[9] Iran, followed by Algeria, are the economies with the largest GDP and trade outside the WTO, using 2005 data.[108][109] With the exception of the Holy See, observers must start accession negotiations within five years of becoming observers. A number of international intergovernmental organizations have also been granted observer status to WTO bodies.[110] Ten UN members have no affiliation with the WTO.

    The WTO oversees about 60 different agreements which have the status of international legal texts. Member countries must sign and ratify all WTO agreements on accession.[111] A discussion of some of the most important agreements follows.

    The Agreement on Agriculture came into effect with the establishment of the WTO at the beginning of 1995. The AoA has three central concepts, or “pillars”: domestic support, market access and export subsidies.

    The General Agreement on Trade in Services was created to extend the multilateral trading system to service sector, in the same way as the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) provided such a system for merchandise trade. The agreement entered into force in January 1995.

    The Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights sets down minimum standards for many forms of intellectual property (IP) regulation. It was negotiated at the end of the Uruguay Round of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) in 1994.[112]

    The Agreement on the Application of Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures—also known as the SPS Agreement—was negotiated during the Uruguay Round of GATT, and entered into force with the establishment of the WTO at the beginning of 1995. Under the SPS agreement, the WTO sets constraints on members’ policies relating to food safety (bacterial contaminants, pesticides, inspection, and labeling) as well as animal and plant health (imported pests and diseases).

    The Agreement on Technical Barriers to Trade is an international treaty of the World Trade Organization. It was negotiated during the Uruguay Round of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade and entered into force with the establishment of the WTO at the end of 1994. The object ensures that technical negotiations and standards, as well as testing and certification procedures, do not create unnecessary obstacles to trade”.[113]

    The Agreement on Customs Valuation, formally known as the Agreement on Implementation of Article VII of GATT, prescribes methods of customs valuation that Members are to follow. Chiefly, it adopts the “transaction value” approach.

    In December 2013, the biggest agreement within the WTO was signed and known as the Bali Package.[114]

    The procedures for the appointment of the WTO director-general were updated in January 2003,[115] and include quadrennial terms.[64] Additionally, there are four deputy directors-general. As of 13 June 2018[update] under director-general Roberto Azevêdo, the four deputy directors-general are:

    Source: Official website[117]

    In May 2020, Director-General Roberto Azevedo announced that he would step down on 31 August 2020.[118] As of October 2020[update], a nomination and selection process is currently under way with eight candidates and the final selection is expected on 7 November 2020 with the consensus of 164 member countries.[119] A strong consensus had formed around the candidacy of Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala but on 28 October it emerged that the US representative was opposed to her appointment.[120]

    WTO members made history on 15 February 2021 when the General Council agreed by consensus to select Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala of Nigeria as the organization’s seventh Director-General.

    Wage takes office on 1 March 2021. Dr Okonjo-Iweala will become the first woman and the first African to be chosen as Director-General. Her term, renewable, will expire on 31 August 2025.

    https://www.wto.org/english/news_e/news21_e/dgno_15feb21_e.htm

    The WTO derives most of the income for its annual budget from contributions by its Members. These are established according to a formula based on their share of international trade.

    Although tariffs and other trade barriers have been significantly reduced thanks to GATT and WTO, the promise that free trade will accelerate economic growth, reduce poverty, and increase people’s incomes has been questioned by many critics.[23] Some prominent skeptics[who?] cite the example of El Salvador. In the early 1990s, they removed all quantitative barriers to imports and also cut tariffs. However, the country’s economic growth remained weak. On the other hand, Vietnam which only began reforming its economy in the late 1980s, saw a great deal of success by deciding to follow China’s economic model and liberalizing slowly along with implementing safeguards for domestic commerce. Vietnam has largely succeeded in accelerating economic growth and reducing poverty without immediately removing substantial trade barriers.[122][23]

    Economist Ha-Joon Chang argues that there is a “paradox” in neo-liberal beliefs regarding free trade because the economic growth of developing countries was higher in the 1960–1980 period compared to the 1980–2000 period even though its trade policies are now far more liberal than before. Also, there are results of research that show that new countries actively reduce trade barriers only after becoming significantly rich. From the results of the study, WTO critics argue that trade liberalization does not guarantee economic growth and certainly not poverty alleviation.[23]

    Critics also put forward the view that the benefits derived from WTO facilitated free trade are not shared equally.[24] This criticism is usually supported by historical accounts of the outcomes of negotiations and/or data showing that the gap between the rich and the poor continues to widen, especially in China and India, where economic inequality is growing even though economic growth is very high.[23] In addition, WTO approaches aiming to reduce trade barriers can harm developing countries. Trade liberalization that is too early without any prominent domestic barriers is feared to trap the developing economies in the primary sector, which often does not require skilled labor. And when these developing countries decide to advance their economy utilizing industrialization, the premature domestic industry cannot immediately skyrocket as expected, making it difficult to compete with other countries whose industries are more advanced.[123]

    Studies show that the WTO boosted trade.[18][19][124][125] Research shows that in the absence of the WTO, the average country would face an increase in tariffs on their exports by 32 percentage points.[20][126] The dispute settlement mechanism in the WTO is one way in which trade is increased.[127][128][129][130]

    According to a 2017 study in the Journal of International Economic Law, “nearly all recent preferential trade agreements (PTAs) reference the WTO explicitly, often dozens of times across multiple chapters. Likewise, in many of these same PTAs we find that substantial portions of treaty language—sometime the majority of a chapter—is copied verbatim from a WTO agreement… the presence of the WTO in PTAs has increased over time.”[21]


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    The World Trade Organization (WTO) is an intergovernmental organization which regulates international trade. The WTO officially commenced on 1 January 1995 under the Marrakesh Agreement, signed by 123 nations on 15 April 1994, replacing the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT), which commenced in 1948.[2] The WTO deals with regulation of trade between participating countries by providing a framework for negotiating trade agreements and a dispute resolution process aimed at enforcing participants’ adherence to WTO agreements, which is signed by representatives of member governments[3]: fol.9–10  and ratified by their parliaments.[4] Most of the issues that the WTO focuses on derive from previous trade negotiations, especially from the Uruguay Round (1986–1994).

    The World Trade Organization’s predecessor, the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT), was established after World War II in the wake of other new multilateral institutions dedicated to international economic cooperation – notably the Bretton Woods institutions known as the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund. A comparable international institution for trade named the International Trade Organization was successfully negotiated. The ITO was to be a United Nations specialized agency and would address not only trade barriers but other issues indirectly related to trade, including employment, investment, restrictive business practices, and commodity agreements. But the ITO treaty was not approved by the U.S. and a few other signatories and never went into effect.[5][6][7]

    In the absence of an international organization for trade, the GATT would over the years “transform itself” into a de facto international organization.[8]

    The GATT was the only multilateral instrument governing international trade from 1946 until the WTO was established on 1 January 1995.[9] Despite attempts in the mid-1950s and 1960s to create some form of institutional mechanism for international trade, the GATT continued to operate for almost half a century as a semi-institutionalized multilateral treaty regime on a provisional basis.[10]
    the world trade organization was formed in or

    Seven rounds of negotiations occurred under GATT. The first real GATT trade rounds concentrated on further reducing tariffs. Then, the Kennedy Round in the mid-sixties brought about a GATT anti-dumping Agreement and a section on development. The Tokyo Round during the seventies was the first major attempt to tackle trade barriers that do not take the form of tariffs, and to improve the system, adopting a series of agreements on non-tariff barriers, which in some cases interpreted existing GATT rules, and in others broke entirely new ground. Because these plurilateral agreements were not accepted by the full GATT membership, they were often informally called “codes.” Several of these codes were amended in the Uruguay Round and turned into multilateral commitments accepted by all the WTO members. Only four remained plurilateral (those on government procurement, bovine meat, civil aircraft, and dairy products), but in 1997 WTO members agreed to terminate the bovine meat and dairy agreements, leaving only two.[9]

    Well before GATT’s 40th anniversary, its members concluded that the GATT system was straining to adapt to a new globalizing world economy.[11][12] In response to the problems identified in the 1982 Ministerial Declaration (structural deficiencies, spill-over impacts of certain countries’ policies on world trade GATT could not manage, etc.), the eighth GATT round – known as the Uruguay Round – was launched in September 1986, in Punta del Este, Uruguay.[11]

    It was the biggest negotiating mandate on trade ever agreed: the talks were going to extend the trading system into several new areas, notably trade in services and intellectual property, and reforming trade in the sensitive sectors of agriculture and textiles; all the original GATT articles were up for review.[12] The Final Act concluding the Uruguay Round and officially establishing the WTO regime was signed 15 April 1994, during the ministerial meeting at Marrakesh, Morocco, and hence is known as the Marrakesh Agreement.[13]

    The GATT still exists as the WTO’s umbrella treaty for trade in goods, updated as a result of the Uruguay Round negotiations (a distinction is made between GATT 1994, the updated parts of GATT, and GATT 1947, the original agreement which is still the heart of GATT 1994).[11] GATT 1994 is not, however, the only legally binding agreement included via the Final Act at Marrakesh; a long list of about 60 agreements, annexes, decisions, and understandings was adopted. The agreements fall into a structure with six main parts:

    In terms of the WTO’s principle relating to tariff “ceiling-binding” (No. 3), the Uruguay Round has been successful in increasing binding commitments by both developed and developing countries, as may be seen in the percentages of tariffs bound before and after the 1986–1994 talks.[16]

    The highest decision-making body of the WTO is the Ministerial Conference, which usually meets every two years. It brings together all members of the WTO, all of which are countries or customs unions. The Ministerial Conference can take decisions on all matters under any of the multilateral trade agreements.

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  • The WTO General Council, on 26 May 2009, agreed to hold a seventh WTO ministerial conference session in Geneva from 30 November–3 December 2009. A statement by chairman Amb. Mario Matus acknowledged that the prime purpose was to remedy a breach of protocol requiring two-yearly “regular” meetings, which had lapsed with the Doha Round failure in 2005, and that the “scaled-down” meeting would not be a negotiating session, but “emphasis will be on transparency and open discussion rather than on small group processes and informal negotiating structures”. The general theme for discussion was “The WTO, the Multilateral Trading System and the Current Global Economic Environment”[18]

    The WTO launched the current round of negotiations, the Doha Development Round, at the fourth ministerial conference in Doha, Qatar in November 2001. This was an ambitious effort to make globalization more inclusive and help the world’s poor, particularly by slashing barriers and subsidies in farming.[19] The initial agenda comprised both further trade liberalization and new rule-making, underpinned by commitments to strengthen substantial assistance to developing countries.[20]

    The negotiations have been highly contentious. Disagreements continue over several key areas including agriculture subsidies, which emerged as critical in July 2006.[21] According to a European Union statement, “The 2008 Ministerial meeting broke down over a disagreement between exporters of agricultural bulk commodities and countries with large numbers of subsistence farmers on the precise terms of a ‘special safeguard measure’ to protect farmers from surges in imports.”[22] The position of the European Commission is that “The successful conclusion of the Doha negotiations would confirm the central role of multilateral liberalisation and rule-making. It would confirm the WTO as a powerful shield against protectionist backsliding.”[20] An impasse remains and, as of August 2013[update], agreement has not been reached, despite intense negotiations at several ministerial conferences and at other sessions. On 27 March 2013, the chairman of agriculture talks announced “a proposal to loosen price support disciplines for developing countries’ public stocks and domestic food aid.” He added: “…we are not yet close to agreement—in fact, the substantive discussion of the proposal is only beginning.”[23]


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    This is a timeline of the World Trade Organization (WTO).

    International trade is the exchange of capital, goods, and services across international borders or territories[1] because there is a need or want of goods or services.[2]

    In most countries, such trade represents a significant share of gross domestic product (GDP). While international trade has existed throughout history (for example Uttarapatha, Silk Road, Amber Road, scramble for Africa, Atlantic slave trade, salt roads), its economic, social, and political importance has been on the rise in recent centuries.

    Carrying out trade at an international level is a complex process when compared to domestic trade. When trade takes place between two or more states factors like currency, government policies, economy, judicial system, laws, and markets influence trade.

    To ease and justify the process of trade between countries of different economic standing in the modern era, some international economic organizations were formed, such as the World Trade Organization. These organizations work towards the facilitation and growth of international trade. Statistical services of intergovernmental and supranational organizations and governmental statistical agencies publish official statistics on international trade.

    A product that is transferred or sold from a party in one country to a party in another country is an export from the originating country, and an import to the country receiving that product. Imports and exports are accounted for in a country’s current account in the balance of payments.[3]
    the world trade organization was formed in or

    Trading globally may give consumers and countries the opportunity to be exposed to new markets and products. Almost every kind of product can be found in the international market, for example: food, clothes, spare parts, oil, jewellery, wine, stocks, currencies, and water. Services are also traded, such as in tourism, banking, consulting, and transportation.

    Advanced technology (including transportation), globalization, industrialization, outsourcing and multinational corporations have major impacts on the international trade system.

    International trade is, in principle, not different from domestic trade as the motivation and the behavior of parties involved in a trade do not change fundamentally regardless of whether trade is across a border or not.

    However, in practical terms, carrying out trade at an international level is typically a more complex process than domestic trade. The main difference is that international trade is typically more costly than domestic trade. This is due to the fact that a border typically imposes additional costs such as tariffs, time costs due to border delays, and costs associated with country differences such as language, the legal system, or culture (non-tariff barriers).

    Another difference between domestic and international trade is that factors of production such as capital and labor are often more mobile within a country than across countries. Thus, international trade is mostly restricted to trade in goods and services, and only to a lesser extent to trade in capital, labour, or other factors of production. Trade in goods and services can serve as a substitute for trade in factors of production. Instead of importing a factor of production, a country can import goods that make intensive use of that factor of production and thus embody it. An example of this is the import of labor-intensive goods by the United States from China. Instead of importing Chinese labor, the United States imports goods that were produced with Chinese labor. One report in 2010, suggested that international trade was increased when a country hosted a network of immigrants, but the trade effect was weakened when the immigrants became assimilated into their new country.[4]

    The history of international trade chronicles notable events that have affected trading among various economies.

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  • There are several models that seek to explain the factors behind international trade, the welfare consequences of trade and the pattern of trade.

    The following table is a list of the 21 largest trading states according to the World Trade Organization.[5]

    Source: International Trade Centre[7]

    In the United States, the various U.S. Presidents have held observances to promote big and small companies to be more involved with the export and import of goods and services. President George W. Bush observed World Trade Week on May 18, 2001, and May 17, 2002.[8][9] On May 13, 2016, President Barack Obama proclaimed May 15 through May 21, 2016, World Trade Week, 2016.[10] On May 19, 2017, President Donald Trump proclaimed May 21 through May 27, 2017, World Trade Week, 2017.[11][12] World Trade Week is the third week of May. Every year the President declares that week to be World Trade Week.[13][14]

    In the case of food production trade-offs in forms of local food and distant food production are controversial with limited studies comparing environmental impact and scientists cautioning that regionally specific environmental impacts should be considered.[15] Effects of local food on greenhouse gas emissions may vary per origin and target region of the production. A 2020 study indicated that local food crop production alone cannot meet the demand for most food crops with “current production and consumption patterns” and the locations of food production at the time of the study for 72–89% of the global population and 100–km radiuses as of early 2020.[16][17][18] Studies found that food miles are a relatively minor factor of carbon emissions, albeit increased food localization may also enable additional, more significant, environmental benefits such as recycling of energy, water, and nutrients.[19] For specific foods regional differences in harvest seasons may make it more environmentally friendly to import from distant regions than more local production and storage or local production in greenhouses.[20]

    Qualitative differences between substitutive products of different production regions may exist due to different legal requirements and quality standards or different levels of controllability by local production- and governance-systems which may have aspects of security beyond resource security, environmental protection, product quality and product design and health. The process of transforming supply as well as labor rights may differ as well.

    Local production has been reported to increase local employment in many cases. A 2018 study claimed that international trade can increase local employment.[21] A 2016 study found that local employment and total labor income in both manufacturing and nonmanufacturing were negatively affected by rising exposure to imports.[22]

    Local production in high-income countries, rather than distant regions may require higher wages for workers. Higher wages incentivize automation[23] which could allow for automated workers’ time to be reallocated by society and its economic mechanisms or be converted into leisure-like time.

    Local production may require knowledge transfer, technology transfer and may not be able to compete in efficiency initially with specialized, established industries and businesses, or in consumer demand without policy measures such as eco-tariffs. Regional differences may cause specific regions to be more suitable for a specific production, thereby increasing the advantages of specific trade over specific local production. Forms of local products that are highly localized may not be able to meet the efficiency of more large-scale, highly consolidated production in terms of efficiency, including environmental impact.[citation needed]

    A systematic, and possibly first large-scale, cross-sectoral analysis of water, energy and land in security in 189 countries that links total and sectorial consumption to sources showed that countries and sectors are highly exposed to over-exploited, insecure, and degraded such resources with economic globalization having decreased security of global supply chains. The 2020 study finds that most countries exhibit greater exposure to resource risks via international trade – mainly from remote production sources – and that diversifying trading partners is unlikely to help countries and sectors to reduce these or to improve their resource self-sufficiency.[24][25][26][27]

    Data on the value of exports and imports and their quantities often broken down by detailed lists of products are available in statistical collections on international trade published by the statistical services of intergovernmental and supranational organisations and national statistical institutes. The definitions and methodological concepts applied for the various statistical collections on international trade often differ in terms of definition (e.g. special trade vs. general trade) and coverage (reporting thresholds, inclusion of trade in services, estimates for smuggled goods and cross-border provision of illegal services). Metadata providing information on definitions and methods are often published along with the data.


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    The original member states of the World Trade Organization are the parties to the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) after ratifying the Uruguay Round Agreements,[1] and the European Communities. They obtained this status at the entry into force on 1 January 1995 or upon their date of ratification. All other members have joined the organization as a result of negotiation, and membership consists of a balance of rights and obligations.[2] The process of becoming a World Trade Organization (WTO) member is unique to each applicant country, and the terms of accession are dependent upon the country’s stage of economic development and the current trade regime.[3]

    An offer of accession is given once consensus is reached among members.[4] The process takes about five years, on average, but it can take some countries almost a decade if the country is less than fully committed to the process, or if political issues interfere. The shortest accession negotiation was that of Kyrgyzstan, lasting 2 years and 10 months. The longest were that of Russia, lasting 19 years and 2 months,[5] Vanuatu, lasting 17 years and 1 month,[6] and China, lasting 15 years and 5 months.[7]

    As of 2007, WTO member states represented 96.4% of global trade and 96.7% of global GDP.[8] Iran, followed by Algeria, are the economies with the largest GDP and trade outside the WTO, using 2005 data.[9][10]

    A country wishing to accede to the WTO submits an application to the General Council. The government applying for membership has to describe all aspects of its trade and economic policies that have a bearing on WTO agreements.[2] The application is submitted to the WTO in a memorandum which is examined by a working party open to all interested WTO Members, and dealing with the country’s application. For large countries such as Russia, numerous countries participate in this process. For smaller countries, the Quadrilateral group of members—consisting of Canada, the European Union, Japan, and the United States—and an applicant’s neighboring countries are typically most involved.[12] The applicant then presents a detailed memorandum to the Working Party on its foreign trade regime, describing, among other things, its economy, economic policies, domestic and international trade regulations, and intellectual property policies. The Working Party Members submit written questions to the applicant to clarify aspects of its foreign trade regime with particular attention being paid to the degree of privatization in the economy and the extent to which government regulation is transparent.[13] After all necessary background information has been acquired, the Working Party will begin meeting to focus on issues of discrepancy between the WTO rules and the Applicant’s international and domestic trade policies and laws. The WP determines the terms and conditions of entry into the WTO for the applicant nation, and may consider transitional periods to allow countries some leeway in complying with the WTO rules.[3]
    the world trade organization was formed in or

    The final phase of accession involves bilateral negotiations between the applicant nation and other Working Party members regarding the concessions and commitments on tariff levels and market access for goods and services. These talks cover tariff rates and specific market access commitments, and other policies in goods and services. The new member’s commitments are to apply equally to all WTO members under normal non-discrimination rules, even though they are negotiated bilaterally. In other words, the talks determine the benefits (in the form of export opportunities and guarantees) other WTO members can expect when the new member joins. The talks can be highly complicated; it has been said that in some cases the negotiations are almost as large as an entire round of multilateral trade negotiations.[2]

    When the bilateral talks conclude, the working party finalizes the terms of accession, sends an accession package, which includes a summary of all the WP meetings, the Protocol of Accession (a draft membership treaty), and lists (“schedules”) of the member-to-be’s commitments to the General Council or Ministerial Conference. Once the General Council or Ministerial Conference approves of the terms of accession, the applicant’s parliament must ratify the Protocol of Accession before it can become a member.[14] The documents used in the accession process which are embargoed during the accession process are released once the nation becomes a member.[3]

    As of July 2016, the WTO has 164 members.[15] Of the 128 states party to GATT at the end of 1994, all have since become WTO members except for the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, which had dissolved in 1992 and was suspended from participating in GATT at the time.[16][17] Four other states, China, Lebanon, Liberia, and Syria, were parties to GATT but subsequently withdrew from the treaty prior to the establishment of the WTO.[16][18] China and Liberia have since acceded to the WTO. The remaining WTO members acceded after first becoming WTO observers and negotiating membership.

    The 27 states of the European Union are dually represented, as the EU is a full member of the organization. Other autonomous entities are eligible for full membership in the WTO provided that they have a separate customs territory with full autonomy in the conduct of their external commercial relations. Thus, Hong Kong became a GATT contracting party, by the now terminated “sponsorship” procedure of the United Kingdom (Hong Kong uses the name “Hong Kong, China” since 1997), as did Macao. A new member of this type is the Republic of China (Taiwan), which acceded to the WTO in 2002, and carefully crafted its application by joining under the name “Separate Customs Territory of Taiwan, Penghu, Kinmen and Matsu (Chinese Taipei)”[19][20] so that they were not rejected as a result of the One-China policy implemented by the People’s Republic of China.

    The WTO also has 24 observer states,[15] that with the exception of the Holy See must start their accession negotiations within five years of becoming observers. The last country admitted as observer-only before applying for full membership was Equatorial Guinea in 2002, but since 2007 it is also in full membership negotiations. In 2007 Liberia and Comoros applied directly for full membership. Some international intergovernmental organizations are also granted observer status to WTO bodies.[21] The Palestinian Authority submitted a request for WTO observer status in October 2009[22] and again in April 2010.[23]

    Afghanistan is the newest member, joining effective 29 July 2016.[24]

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  • Russia was one of the only two large economies outside of the WTO after Saudi Arabia joined in 2005.[25][26] It had begun negotiating to join the WTO’s predecessor in 1993. The final major point of contention—related to the 2008 Russo-Georgian War—was solved through mediation by Switzerland,[25] leading to Russian membership in 2012. The other is Iran, which is an observer state and begun negotiations in 1996.

    The following table lists all current members, their accession date and previous GATT membership, of which there were 128 nations when the transformation was consummated.[15][17][27]

    The following table lists all 25 WTO observers.[15][30] Within five years of being granted observer status by the WTO, states are required to begin negotiating their accession to the organization.[15]

    The following table lists all the UN member states and UN General Assembly observer states which are neither members nor observers of the WTO.[15]

    Additionally,  Kosovo has expressed an interest in joining the WTO.[41]


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    Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala (/əŋˈɡoʊzi əˈkoʊndʒoʊ ɪˈweɪlə/; born 13 June 1954) is a Nigerian-American economist, fair trade leader, environmental sustainability advocate, human welfare champion, sustainable finance maven and global development expert.[2][3][4] Since March 2021, Okonjo-Iweala has been serving as Director-General of the World Trade Organization. Notably, she is the first woman and first African to lead the World Trade Organization as Director-General.[5][6][7] She sits on boards of: Danone, Standard Chartered Bank, Twitter, MINDS: Mandela Institute for Development Studies, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, Georgetown Institute for Women, Peace and Security, One Campaign, GAVI: Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization, Rockefeller Foundation, R4D: Results for Development, ARC: African Risk Capacity and Earthshot Prize plus others.[8][9][10][11][12]

    Also, Okonjo-Iweala serves Brookings Institution as a non-resident distinguished fellow with the Africa Growth Initiative in their Global Economy and Development Program.[13] She is a Commissioner Emeritus and Co-Chair of Global Commission on the Economy and Climate.[14] At The World Bank, she had a 25-year career as a development economist; rising to become Managing Director for Operations from 2007 to 2011. Okonjo-Iweala was the first Nigerian woman to serve two terms as Finance Minister of Nigeria; initially, under President Olusegun Obasanjo from 2003 to 2006; and secondly, under President Goodluck Jonathan from 2011 to 2015. Subsequently, from June to August 2006, she served as Minister for Foreign Affairs of Nigeria. In 2005, Euromoney named her Global Finance Minister of the Year.[15][16]

    Okonjo-Iweala was born in Ogwashi-Ukwu, Delta State, Nigeria, where her father, Professor Chukwuka Okonjo, was the obi (king) of the Obahai Royal Family of Ogwashi-Ukwu.[17]

    Okonjo-Iweala was educated at Queen’s School, Enugu; St. Anne’s School, Molete, Ibadan; and the International School Ibadan. She arrived in the US in 1973 as a teenager to study at Harvard University and graduated magna cum laude with an AB in Economics in 1976.[18][19] In 1981, she earned her PhD in regional economics and development from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology with the thesis Credit policy, rural financial markets, and Nigeria’s agricultural development.[20] She received an international fellowship from the American Association of University Women (AAUW), which supported her doctoral studies.[21]
    the world trade organization was formed in or

    Okonjo-Iweala had a 25-year career at the World Bank in Washington DC as a development economist and rose to the second position, managing director.[22] As managing director, she had oversight responsibility for the World Bank’s $81 billion operational portfolio in Africa, South Asia, Europe, and Central Asia. Okonjo-Iweala spearheaded several World Bank initiatives to assist low-income countries during the 2008–2009 food crises and later during the financial crisis. In 2010, she was the chair person of the IDA replenishment, the World Bank’s successful drive to raise $49.3 billion in grants and low-interest credit for the poorest countries in the world.[23] During her time at the World Bank, she was also a member of the Commission on Effective Development Cooperation with Africa, which was set up by Danish Prime Minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen and held meetings between April and October 2008.[24]

    Okonjo-Iweala served twice as Nigeria’s Finance Minister and also as Minister of Foreign Affairs.[25] She was the first woman to hold both positions. During her first term as Finance Minister in the administration of President Olusegun Obasanjo, she spearheaded negotiations with the Paris Club that led to the wiping out of US$30 billion of Nigeria’s debt, including the outright cancellation of US$18 billion.[26] In 2003, she led efforts to improve Nigeria’s macroeconomic management including the implementation of an oil-price based fiscal rule. Revenues accruing above a reference benchmark oil price were saved in a special account, the “Excess Crude Account,” which helped to reduce macroeconomic volatility.[27]

    She also introduced the practice of publishing in the newspapers, each state’s monthly financial allocation from the Federal Government of Nigeria. That action went a long way in increasing transparency in governance.[28][29] With the support of the World Bank and the IMF to the Federal Government, she helped build an electronic financial management platform—the Government Integrated Financial Management and Information System (GIFMIS), including the Treasury Single Account (TSA) and the Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System (IPPIS), helping to curtail corruption in the process. As at 31 December 2014, the IPPIS platform had eliminated 62,893 ghost workers from the system and saved the government about $1.25 billion in the process.[30][31]

    Okonjo-Iweala was also instrumental in helping Nigeria obtain its first ever sovereign credit rating (of BB minus) from Fitch Ratings and Standard & Poor’s in 2006.[21]

    Following her first term as Minister of Finance, she served two months as Minister of Foreign Affairs in 2006. She returned to the World Bank as a Managing Director in December 2007.[22][32]

    In 2011, Okonjo-Iweala was re-appointed as Minister of Finance in Nigeria with the expanded portfolio of the Coordinating Minister for the Economy by President Goodluck Jonathan. Her legacy includes strengthening the country’s public financial systems and stimulating the housing sector with the establishment of the Mortgage Refinance Corporation (NMRC).[33] She also empowered women and youth with the Growing Girls and Women in Nigeria Programme (GWIN); a gender-responsive budgeting system,[34] and the highly acclaimed Youth Enterprise with Innovation Programme (YouWIN); to support entrepreneurs, that created thousands of jobs.[35][36] As part of Goodluck Jonathan’s administration, she received death threats and endured the kidnapping of her mother.[37][38]

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  • This program has been evaluated by the World Bank as one of the most effective of its kind globally. Under her leadership, the National Bureau of Statistics carried out a re-basing exercise of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP), the first in 24 years, which saw Nigeria emerge as the largest economy in Africa.[39] She took a lot of heat for the government’s fuel subsidy removal policy, an action that led to protests in January 2012.[40] In May 2016, the new administration eventually removed the fuel subsidy after it became apparent that it was unsustainable and inefficient.[41]

    In addition to her role in government, Okonjo-Iweala served on the Growth Commission (2006–2009), led by Nobel Prize winner Professor Michael Spence, and the United Nations’ Secretary-General’s High-Level Panel on the Post-2015 Development Agenda (2012–2013). She also co-chaired the Global Partnership for Effective Development Cooperation.[42] In 2012, she was a candidate for President of the World Bank, running against Dartmouth College President Jim Yong Kim; if elected, she would have become the organization’s first female president.[43]

    After leaving government, Okonjo-Iweala became a member of the International Commission on Financing Global Education Opportunity (2015–2016), chaired by Gordon Brown, and the Eminent Persons Group on Global Financial Governance, which was established by the G20 Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors (2017–2018).[44] Since 2014, she has been co-chairing the Global Commission for the Economy and Climate, with Nicholas Stern and Paul Polman.[45] In January 2016, she became the chair-elect of the Board of Gavi.

    Okonjo-Iweala is the founder of Nigeria’s first indigenous opinion-research organization, NOI-Polls.[46] She also founded the Centre for the Study of the Economies of Africa (C-SEA),[47] a development research think-tank based in Abuja, and is a Distinguished Visiting Fellow at the Center for Global Development and the Brookings Institution.[48]

    Since 2019, Okonjo-Iweala has been part of UNESCO’s International Commission on the Futures of Education, chaired by Sahle-Work Zewde.[49] Also since 2019, she has also been serving on the High-Level Council on Leadership & Management for Development of the Aspen Management Partnership for Health (AMP Health).[50] In 2020, the International Monetary Fund’s Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva appointed her to an external advisory group to provide input on policy challenges.[51] Also in 2020, she was appointed by the African Union (AU) as special envoy to solicit international support to help the continent deal with the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.[52]

    In June 2020, Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari nominated Okonjo-Iweala as the country’s candidate to be director-general of the World Trade Organization (WTO).[53] She later advanced to the election’s final round and eventually competed with Yoo Myung-hee. Ahead of the vote, she received the backing of the European Union for her candidacy.[54] In October 2020, the United States government indicated that it would not back Okonjo-Iweala’s candidacy.[55] The WTO in its formal report said that Okonjo-Iweala “clearly carried the largest support by Members in the final round; and, enjoyed broad support from Members from all levels of development and from all geographic regions and has done so throughout the process” [56] On 5 February 2021, Yoo Myung-hee announced her withdrawal from the race in “close consultation with the United States.”[57] According to a statement issued from the United States Trade Representative, “The United States takes note of today’s decision by the Republic of Korea’s Trade Minister Yoo Myung-hee to withdraw her candidacy for Director General of the World Trade Organization (WTO). The Biden-Harris Administration is pleased to express its strong support for the candidacy of Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala as the next Director General of the WTO.”[58] Okonjo-Iweala was unanimously appointed as the next Director-General on 15 February.[59] She began her career as Director General of the WTO on 1 March 2021.

    In early 2021, Okonjo-Iweala was appointed as co-chair, alongside Tharman Shanmugaratnam and Lawrence Summers, of the High Level Independent Panel (HLIP) on financing the global commons for pandemic preparedness and response, which had been established by the G20.[60] In July 2021, she joined the Multilateral Leaders Task Force on COVID-19 Vaccines, Therapeutics, and Diagnostics for Developing Countries, co-chaired by Tedros Adhanom and David Malpass.[61]

    She is married to Ikemba Iweala, a family medicine Physician from Umuahia, Abia State, Nigeria.[62] They have four children, including author Uzodinma Iweala.[63][64][65][66][67]

    During her campaign to become the next Director-General of the WTO, it was revealed that Okonjo-Iweala became a US citizen in 2019 after spending several decades working and studying there.[68] Given the ongoing trade tensions between China and the US, analysts commented that the disclosure would be a contributing factor in shaping China’s attitude towards her.[69]

    Okonjo-Iweala has received numerous recognition and awards. She has been listed as one of the 50 Greatest World Leaders (Fortune, 2015),[104] the Top 100 Most Influential People in the World (TIME, 2014),[105] the Top 100 Global Thinkers (Foreign Policy, 2011 and 2012),[106] the Top 100 Most Powerful Women in the World (Forbes, 2011, 2012, 2013 and 2014),[107] the Top 3 Most Powerful Women in Africa (Forbes, 2012), the Top 10 Most Influential Women in Africa (Forbes, 2011), the Top 100 Women in the World (The Guardian, 2011), the Top 150 Women in the World (Newsweek, 2011), the Top 100 most inspiring people in the World Delivering for Girls and Women (Women Deliver, 2011).[99] She was listed among 73 “brilliant” business influencers in the world by Condé Nast International.[108]

    In 2019, Okonjo-Iweala was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.[109] She was also conferred High National Honours from the Republic of Côte d’Ivoire and the Republic of Liberia. She is also the recipient of Nigeria’s Commander of the Federal Republic (CFR).[99] Other honours include:

    Okonjo-Iweala has received honorary degrees from 14 universities worldwide, including some from the most prestigious colleges:

    She has also received degrees from a host of Nigerian universities including Abia State University, Delta State University, Abraka, Oduduwa University, Babcock University, and the Universities of Port Harcourt, Calabar, and Ife (Obafemi Awolowo university). In 2019, Okonjo Iweala was awarded an honorary degree from Tel Aviv University.[132]

    Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala at the 2007 World Economic Forum

    Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala at the 2007 World Economic Forum

    Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, and former Managing Director of the World Bank, speaking at the UK-Africa Investment Summit in London


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    franais

    UNDERSTANDING THE WTO:
    BASICS

     

    the world trade organization was formed in or

    There are a number of ways of looking at the WTO.
    Its an organization for liberalizing trade. Its a forum for governments to negotiate trade agreements.
    Its a place for them to settle trade disputes. It operates a system of trade rules. (But
    its not Superman, just in case anyone thought it could solve or cause
    all the worlds problems!)

    Above all,
    its a negotiating forum   Essentially, the WTO is a place where member governments go, to try to sort out the trade problems they face with each other. The first step is to talk. The WTO was born out of negotiations, and everything the WTO does is the result of negotiations. The bulk of the WTO’s current work comes from the 1986-94 negotiations called the Uruguay Round and earlier negotiations under the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT). The WTO is currently the host to new negotiations, under the
    Doha Development Agenda launched in 2001.

    Where countries have faced trade barriers and wanted them lowered, the negotiations have helped to liberalize trade. But the WTO is not just about liberalizing trade, and in some circumstances its rules support maintaining trade barriers
    for example to protect consumers or prevent the spread of disease.

    Its a set of rules   At its heart are the WTO agreements, negotiated and signed by the bulk of the worlds trading nations. These documents provide
    the legal ground-rules for international commerce. They are essentially
    contracts, binding governments to keep their trade policies within agreed
    limits. Although negotiated and signed by governments, the goal is to help
    producers of goods and services, exporters, and importers conduct their
    business, while allowing governments to meet social and environmental
    objectives.

    The systems overriding purpose is to help trade flow as freely as possible — so long as there are no undesirable side-effects
    because this is important for economic development and well-being. That partly means removing obstacles. It also means ensuring that individuals, companies and governments know what the trade rules are around the world, and giving them the confidence that there will be no sudden changes of policy. In other words, the rules have to be
    transparent and predictable.

    And it helps to settle disputes   This is a third important side to the
    WTOs work. Trade relations often involve conflicting interests. Agreements, including those painstakingly negotiated in the WTO system, often need interpreting. The most harmonious way to settle these differences is through some neutral procedure based on an agreed legal foundation. That is the purpose behind the dispute settlement process written into the WTO agreements.

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  •  

    The WTO began life on 1 January 1995, but its trading system is half a century older. Since 1948, the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) had provided the rules for the system. (The second WTO ministerial meeting, held in Geneva in May 1998, included a celebration of the 50th anniversary of the system.)

    It did not take long for the General Agreement to give birth to an unofficial,
    de facto international organization, also known informally as GATT. Over the years GATT evolved through several rounds of negotiations.

    The last and largest GATT round, was the Uruguay Round which lasted from 1986 to 1994 and led to the
    WTOs creation. Whereas GATT had mainly dealt with trade in goods, the WTO and its agreements now cover trade in services, and in traded inventions, creations and designs (intellectual property).

      

     

    … OR IS IT A TABLE?

    Participants in a recent radio discussion on the WTO were full of ideas. The WTO should do this, the WTO should do that, they said.

    One of them finally interjected: Wait a minute. The WTO is a table. People sit round the table and negotiate. What do you expect the table to
    do?

     

    Multilateral
    trading system …

    … i.e. the system operated by the WTO. Most nations
    including almost all the main trading nations are members of the system. But some are not, so
    multilateral is used to describe the system instead of
    global or world.

    In WTO affairs, multilateral also contrasts with actions taken regionally or by other smaller groups of countries. (This is different from the
    words use in other areas of international relations where, for example, a
    multilateral security arrangement can be regional.)


      

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    history of trade

    From the early days of the Silk Road to the creation of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) and the birth of the WTO, trade has played an important role in supporting economic development and promoting peaceful relations among nations. This page traces the history of trade, from its earliest roots to the present day.the world trade organization was formed in or

    Trade and foreign policy have been intertwined throughout history, with foreign policy often tailored to promote trade interests.  In the 3rd century BC, during the Han Dynasty, China used its military power to maintain the Silk Road for its value for trade.  In the year 30 BC, Rome conquered Egypt in large part to have a better supply of grain.

    A single page of text from 1941 is a powerful reminder that the desire for peace and security drove the creation of today’s global economic system. The global rules that underpin our multilateral economic system were a direct reaction to the Second World War and a desire for it to never be repeated.

    The lead negotiators for the creation of the GATT profoundly disagreed on the level of ambition to be achieved but finally overcame their differences.

    From 1948 to 1994, the GATT provided the rules for much of world trade and presided over periods that saw some of the highest growth rates in international commerce. It seemed well-established but throughout those 47 years, it was a provisional agreement and organization.

    The WTO’s creation on 1 January 1995 marked the biggest reform of international trade since the end of the Second World War. Whereas the GATT mainly dealt with trade in goods, the WTO and its agreements also cover trade in services and intellectual property. The birth of the WTO also created new procedures for the settlement of disputes.

    1998 marked the 50th anniversary of the multilateral trading system.

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  • The Doha Round was launched in 2001 to achieve major reform of the international trading system through the introduction of lower trade barriers and revised trade rules. A fundamental objective of the Doha Development Agenda is to improve the trading prospects of developing countries.

    Over the past 20 years, WTO members have agreed major updates to the WTO rulebook to improve the flow of global trade. The WTO’s membership has expanded to

    members, representing over 98% of international trade. In 2015, the WTO reached a significant milestone with the receipt of its 500th trade dispute for settlement.

    The Ministerial Conference is the highest decision-making body of the WTO and usually meets every two years. The WTO’s first Ministerial Conference was held in Singapore in December 1996. Its most recent — the 11th — was held in Buenos Aires in December 2017.

    The first Director-General of the GATT was Eric Wyndham White, who held office from  1948 to 1968. The current Director-General of the WTO is Roberto Azevêdo, who began a second four-year term in September 2017.

    In 2020, the WTO marked its 25th anniversary.

      

     

     

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    The World Trade Organization (WTO) is the only global international organization dealing with the rules of trade between nations. At its heart are the WTO agreements, negotiated and signed by the bulk of the world’s trading nations and ratified in their parliaments. The goal is to help producers of goods and services, exporters, and importers conduct their business.


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    the world trade organization was formed in or

    There are a number of ways of looking at the World Trade Organization. It is an organization for trade opening. It is a forum for governments to negotiate trade agreements. It is a place for them to settle trade disputes. It operates a system of trade rules. Essentially, the WTO is a place where member governments try to sort out the trade problems they face with each other.

    The WTO is run by its member governments. All major decisions are made by the membership as a whole, either by ministers (who usually meet at least once every two years) or by their ambassadors or delegates (who meet regularly in Geneva).

    The WTO agreements are lengthy and complex because they are legal texts covering a wide range of activities. But a number of simple, fundamental principles run throughout all of these documents. These principles are the foundation of the multilateral trading system.

     

    The World Trade Organization the WTO is the international organization whose primary purpose is to open trade for the benefit of all.

    A starting point for

    essential information about the WTO.

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  • An introduction, in

    more depth, to the WTO and its agreements.

    The world is complex. The World Trade Organization is complex. This booklet is brief, but it tries to reflect the complex and dynamic nature of trade and the WTOs trade rules.

     

    From the early days of the Silk Road to the creation of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) and the birth of the WTO, trade has played an important role in supporting economic development and promoting peaceful relations among nations. This page traces the history of trade, from its earliest roots to the present day.

      

      

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    In brief, the World Trade Organization (WTO) is the only international organization dealing with the global rules of trade. Its main function is to ensure that trade flows as smoothly, predictably and freely as possible.

    Global rules of trade provide assurance and stability. Consumers and producers know they can enjoy secure supplies and greater choice of the finished products, components, raw materials and services they use. Producers and exporters know foreign markets will remain open to them.the world trade organization was formed in or

    This leads to a more prosperous, peaceful and accountable economic world. Decisions in the WTO are typically taken by consensus among all members and they are ratified by members’ parliaments. Trade frictions are channelled into the WTO’s dispute settlement process, where the focus is on interpreting agreements and commitments and how to ensure that members’ trade policies conform with them. That way, the risk of disputes spilling over into political or military conflict is reduced.

    By lowering trade barriers through negotiations among member governments, the WTOs system also breaks down other barriers between peoples and trading economies.

    At the heart of the system known as the multilateral trading system are the WTOs agreements, negotiated and signed by a large majority of the worlds trading economies, and ratified in their parliaments.

    These agreements are the legal foundations for global trade. Essentially, they are contracts, guaranteeing WTO members important trade rights. They also bind governments to keep their trade policies transparent and predictable which is to everybodys benefit.

    The agreements provide a stable and transparent framework to help producers of goods and services, exporters and importers conduct their business.

    The goal is to improve the welfare of the peoples of the WTOs members.

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  • The World Trade Organization came into being in 1995. One of the youngest of the international organizations, the WTO is the successor to the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) established in the wake of the Second World War.

    So while the WTO is relatively young, the multilateral trading system that was originally set up under the GATT is over 70 years old.

    The past 70 years have seen an exceptional growth in world trade. Merchandise exports have grown on average by 6% annually. This growth in trade has been a powerful engine for overall economic expansion and on average trade has grown by 1.5 times more than the global economy each year. Total exports in 2019 were 250 times the level of 1948. The GATT and the WTO have helped to create a strong and prosperous trading system contributing to unprecedented growth.

    The system was developed through a series of trade negotiations, or rounds, held under the GATT. The first rounds dealt mainly with tariff reductions but later negotiations included other areas such as anti-dumping and non-tariff measures. The 1986-94 round the Uruguay Round led to the WTOs creation.

    The negotiations did not end there. In 1997, an agreement was reached on telecommunications services, with 69 governments agreeing to wide-ranging liberalization measures that went beyond those agreed in the Uruguay Round.

    In the same year, 40 governments successfully concluded negotiations for tariff-free trade in information technology products, and 70 members concluded a financial services deal covering more than 95% of trade in banking, insurance, securities and financial information.

    In 2000, new talks started on agriculture and services. These were incorporated into a broader work programme, the Doha Development Agenda, launched at the fourth WTO Ministerial Conference in Doha, Qatar, in November 2001.

    The new work programme included negotiations and other work on non- agricultural tariffs, trade and the environment, WTO rules on anti-dumping and subsidies, trade facilitation, transparency in government procurement, intellectual property and a range of issues raised by developing economies as difficulties they face in implementing WTO agreements.

    Negotiations on these and other topics have resulted in major updates to the WTO rulebook in recent years. A revised Government Procurement Agreement adopted at the WTOs 8th Ministerial Conference in 2011 expanded the coverage of the original agreement by an estimated US$ 100 billion a year.

    At the 9th Ministerial Conference in Bali in 2013, WTO members struck the Agreement on Trade Facilitation, which aims to reduce border delays by slashing red tape.

    When fully implemented, this Agreement the first multilateral accord reached at the WTO will cut trade costs by more than 14% and will lift global exports by as much as US$ 1 trillion per year.

    The expansion of the Information Technology Agreement concluded at the 10th Ministerial Conference in Nairobi in 2015 eliminated tariffs on an additional 200 IT products valued at over US$ 1.3 trillion per year. Another outcome of the Conference was a decision to abolish agricultural export subsidies, fulfilling one of the key targets of the UN Sustainable Development Goal on Zero hunger.

    Most recently, an amendment to the WTOs Intellectual Property Agreement entered into force in 2017, easing poor economies access to affordable medicines. The same year saw the Trade Facilitation Agreement enter into force.

    How can you ensure that trade is as fair as possible, and as open as is practical? By negotiating rules and abiding by them.

    The WTOs rules the agreements are the result of negotiations between the members. The current set is largely the outcome of the 1986- 94 Uruguay Round negotiations, which included a major revision of the original General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT).

    The Uruguay Round created new rules for dealing with trade in services and intellectual property and new procedures for dispute settlement. The complete set runs to some 30,000 pages consisting of about 30 agreements and separate commitments (called schedules) made by individual members in specific areas, such as lower tariffs and services market-opening.

    Through these agreements, WTO members operate a non- discriminatory trading system that spells out their rights and their obligations. Each member receives guarantees that its exports will be treated fairly and consistently in other members markets. Each promises to do the same for imports into its own market. The system also gives developing economies some flexibility in implementing their commitments.

    It all began with trade in goods. From 1947 to 1994, the GATT was the forum for negotiating lower tariffs and other trade barriers; the text of the GATT spelt out important rules, particularly non- discrimination. Since 1995, the Marrakesh Agreement Establishing the WTO and its annexes (including the updated GATT) has become the WTOs umbrella agreement. It has annexes dealing with specific sectors relating to goods, such as agriculture, and with specific issues such as product standards, subsidies and actions taken against dumping. A recent significant addition was the Trade Facilitation Agreement, which entered into force in 2017.

    Banks, insurance firms, telecommunications companies, tour operators, hotel chains and transport companies looking to do business abroad enjoy the same principles of more open trade that originally only applied to trade in goods. These principles appear in the General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS). WTO members have also made individual commitments under the GATS stating which of their service sectors they are willing to open to foreign competition, and how open those markets are.

    The WTOs Intellectual Property Agreement contains rules for trade in ideas and creativity. The rules state how copyrights, patents, trademarks, geographical names used to identify products, industrial designs and undisclosed information such as trade secrets intellectual property should be protected when trade is involved.

    The WTOs procedure for resolving trade conflicts under the Dispute Settlement Understanding is vital for enforcing the rules and therefore for ensuring that trade flows smoothly. Governments bring disputes to the WTO if they think their rights under the WTO agreements are being infringed. Judgements by specially appointed independent experts are based on interpretations of the agreements and individual members’ commitments. The system encourages members to settle their differences through consultation with each other. If this proves to be unsuccessful, they can follow a stage- by-stage procedure that includes the possibility of a ruling by a panel of experts and the chance to appeal the ruling on legal grounds. Confidence in the system is borne out by the number of cases brought to the WTO more than 500 cases since the WTO was established compared with the 300 disputes dealt with during the entire life of the GATT (1947-94).

    The WTO’s Trade Policy Review Mechanism is designed to improve transparency, to create a greater understanding of the trade policies adopted by WTO members and to assess their impact. Many members see the reviews as constructive feedback on their policies. All WTO members must undergo periodic scrutiny, each review containing reports by the member concerned and the WTO Secretariat. In addition, the WTO undertakes regular monitoring of global trade measures. Initially launched in the wake of the financial crisis of 2008, this global trade monitoring exercise has become a regular function of the WTO, with the aim of highlighting WTO members’ implementation of both trade- facilitating and trade-restricting measures.

    Over three-quarters of WTO members are developing or least-developed economies. All WTO agreements contain special provisions for them, including longer time periods to implement commitments, measures to increase their trading opportunities and support to help them build the infrastructure needed to participate in world trade.

    A WTO Committee on Trade and Development looks at developing economies special needs. Its responsibility includes implementation of the WTO agreements, technical cooperation and the increased participation of developing economies in the global trading system.

    The Aid for Trade initiative, launched by WTO members in 2005, is designed to help developing economies build trade capacity, enhance their infrastructure and improve their ability to benefit from trade- opening opportunities. So far, over US$ 400 billion has been disbursed to support Aid for Trade projects. A Global Review of the initiative is held every two years at the WTOs headquarters.

    The Enhanced Integrated Framework (EIF) is the only multilateral partnership dedicated exclusively to assisting least developed countries (LDCs) in their use of trade as an engine for growth, sustainable development and poverty reduction. The EIF partnership of 51 countries, 24 donors and eight partner agencies, including the WTO, works closely with governments, development organizations, civil society and academia. The EIF has invested in over 170 projects, with US$ 220 million committed to supporting the poorest countries in the world.

    Another partnership supported by the WTO is the Standards and Trade Development Facility (STDF), set up to help developing economies meet international standards for food safety, plant and animal health and access global markets. The WTO houses the Secretariat and manages the STDF trust fund, which has provided financing of over US$ 50 million to support projects in low-income economies.

    The WTO organizes hundreds of technical cooperation missions to developing economies annually. It also holds many trade policy courses each year in Geneva for government officials. Regional seminars are held regularly in all regions of the world, with a special emphasis on African countries. E-learning courses are also available. In 2019, some 22800 participants benefited from WTO training aimed at improving understanding of WTO agreements and global trade rules.

    The WTOs overriding objective is to help trade flow smoothly, freely and predictably. It does this by:the world trade organization was formed in or

    The WTO has 164 members, accounting for 98% of world trade. A total of 25 countries are negotiating membership.

    Decisions are made by the entire membership. This is typically by consensus. A majority vote is also possible but it has never been used in the WTO, and was extremely rare under the WTOs predecessor, the GATT. The WTOs agreements have been ratified in all members parliaments.

    The WTOs top level decision- making body is the Ministerial Conference, which meets usually every two years.

    Below this is the General Council (normally ambassadors and heads of delegation based in Geneva but sometimes officials sent from members capitals) which meets several times a year in the Geneva headquarters. The General Council also meets as the Trade Policy Review Body and the Dispute Settlement Body.

    At the next level, the Goods Council, Services Council and Intellectual Property (TRIPS) Council report to the General Council.

    Numerous specialized committees, working groups and working parties deal with the individual agreements and other areas, such as the environment, development, membership applications and regional trade agreements.

    The WTO Secretariat, based in Geneva, has around 620 staff and is headed by a Director- General. It does not have branch offices outside Geneva. Since decisions are taken by the WTOs members, the Secretariat does not itself have a decision-making role.

    The Secretariats main duties are to supply technical support for the various councils/ committees and the ministerial conferences, to provide technical assistance for developing economies, to analyse world trade and to explain WTO activities to the public and media.

    The Secretariat also provides some forms of legal assistance in the dispute settlement process and advises governments wishing to become members of the WTO. The annual budget contributed by members is roughly 197 million Swiss francs.

    Rue de Lausanne 154
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    Switzerland
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    WTO Information and External Relations Division e-mail: [email protected]

    WTO Publications e-mail: [email protected]

    WTO Online Bookshop https://onlinebookshop.wto.org

    WTO iLibrary e-mail: [email protected]

    LOCATION: Geneva, Switzerland

    ESTABLISHED: 1 January 1995

    CREATED BY: Uruguay Round negotiations (1986-94)

    MEMBERSHIP: 164 members representing 98% of world trade

    BUDGET: 197 million Swiss francs for 2020

    SECRETARIAT STAFF: 624

    HEAD: Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala (Director-General)

    FUNCTIONS:


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    espaol  franais

    The World Trade Organization (WTO) is the only global international organization dealing with the rules of trade between nations. At its heart are the WTO agreements, negotiated and signed by the bulk of the worlds trading nations and ratified in their parliaments. The goal is to ensure that trade flows as smoothly, predictably and freely as possible.

     

    the world trade organization was formed in or

     

    The WTO has approximately 650 staff on its regular budget.

    The WTO derives most of the income for its annual budget from contributions by its members. These contributions are based on a formula that takes into account each member’s share of international trade.

    Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala is the seventh Director-General of the WTO. She took office on 1 March 2021, becoming the first woman and the first African to serve as Director-General. Her term of office will expire on 31 August 2025.

    The WTO is housed in the historic Centre William Rappard building. A new building was added in 2013.

    The WTO Procurement Section is responsible for obtaining, in a timely and cost-effective manner, goods and services which meet the needs of the organization.

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  • Cooperation between multilateral institutions on global economic policy-making.

    The WTO Annual Report provides a comprehensive overview of WTO activities over the past year and includes information on the WTO’s budget and staffing.

    General enquiries, publications, the website. Also copyright and trademark statements.

      

     

     


    June 4, 2001 –
    January 31, 2008
    98-928

    The World Trade Organization (WTO) was established on January 1, 1995, under an agreement reached during the Uruguay Round of multilateral trade negotiations. The Uruguay Round was the last of a series of periodic trade negotiations held under the auspices of the WTO’s predecessor, the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT).

    The WTO is the most important international organization that governs world trade. Decisions are made by the member countries. The WTO has 151 members and 31 observer governments (most of which have applied for membership), and members represent over 95% of world trade. The highest-level decisions are made at the Ministerial Conference, which is the meeting of trade ministers from member countries. The Ministerial Conference must meet at least every two years. The General Council is the body of national representatives that oversees the day-to-day operations of the WTO. The General Council meets approximately monthly. It also meets in two other capacities: it reviews national trade policies, and it oversees the dispute settlement process. Under the General Council are numerous committees, working groups, and other bodies.

    Assisting the members is a WTO Secretariat that numbers about 635 and is located in Geneva, Switzerland. The top official of the Secretariat is Director-General Pascal Lamy of France, whose three-year term began on September 1, 2005.

    Trade agreements administered by the WTO cover a broad range of goods and services trade and apply to virtually all government practices that directly relate to trade, for example tariffs, subsidies, government procurement, and trade-related intellectual property rights. The WTO agreements are based on the principle of non-discriminatory treatment among countries. Some exceptions however, such as preferential treatment for developing countries, are allowed. Other basic principles of the WTO are open information on rules and regulations, negotiated limits on trade barriers, and settlement of disputes under specific procedures.the world trade organization was formed in or

    The 110th Congress may examine the relationship between the United States and the WTO in two ways. Congress may consider implementing legislation for a potential Doha Round agreement. U.S. Trade Promotion Authority (TPA) expired on July 1, 2007, however, Congress may extend or reauthorize TPA to consider such an agreement. Secondly, Congress may consider changes to U.S. laws in response to WTO dispute settlement procedures.

    Topic areas

    Foreign Affairs

    Industry and Trade

    The World Trade Organization (WTO) was established on January 1, 1995, under an agreement reached during the Uruguay Round of multilateral trade negotiations. The Uruguay Round was the last of a series of periodic trade negotiations held under the auspices of the WTO’s predecessor, the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT).

    The WTO is the most important international organization that governs world trade. Decisions are made by the member countries. The WTO has 151 members and 31 observer governments (most of which have applied for membership), and members represent over 95% of world trade. The highest-level decisions are made at the Ministerial Conference, which is the meeting of trade ministers from member countries. The Ministerial Conference must meet at least every two years. The General Council is the body of national representatives that oversees the day-to-day operations of the WTO. The General Council meets approximately monthly. It also meets in two other capacities: it reviews national trade policies, and it oversees the dispute settlement process. Under the General Council are numerous committees, working groups, and other bodies.

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  • Assisting the members is a WTO Secretariat that numbers about 635 and is located in Geneva, Switzerland. The top official of the Secretariat is Director-General Pascal Lamy of France, whose three-year term began on September 1, 2005.

    Trade agreements administered by the WTO cover a broad range of goods and services trade and apply to virtually all government practices that directly relate to trade, for example tariffs, subsidies, government procurement, and trade-related intellectual property rights. The WTO agreements are based on the principle of non-discriminatory treatment among countries. Some exceptions however, such as preferential treatment for developing countries, are allowed. Other basic principles of the WTO are open information on rules and regulations, negotiated limits on trade barriers, and settlement of disputes under specific procedures.

    The 110th Congress may examine the relationship between the United States and the WTO in two ways. Congress may consider implementing legislation for a potential Doha Round agreement. U.S. Trade Promotion Authority (TPA) expired on July 1, 2007, however, Congress may extend or reauthorize TPA to consider such an agreement. Secondly, Congress may consider changes to U.S. laws in response to WTO dispute settlement procedures.

    Following World War II, nations throughout the world, led by the United States and several other developed countries, sought to establish an open and nondiscriminatory trading system with the goal of raising the economic well-being of all countries. Aware of the role of trade barriers in contributing to the economic depression in the 1930s, and the military aggression that rose following the depression, the countries that met to discuss the new trading system saw open trade as essential for economic stability and peace.

    The intent of these negotiators was to establish an International Trade Organization (ITO), which would address not only trade barriers but other issues indirectly related to trade, including employment, investment, restrictive business practices, and commodity agreements. The ITO was to be a United Nations specialized agency, but the ITO treaty was not approved by the United States and a few other signatories and never went into effect. Instead, a provisional agreement on tariffs and trade rules, called the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) was reached and went into effect in 1948. This provisional GATT became the principal set of rules governing international trade for the next 47 years.

    The GATT established trade principles that continue to be applied today. Among the most important of these principles was nondiscrimination with regard to the treatment of trade in goods among countries. The most-favored-nation principle, Article I of the GATT, states that any advantage given by a contracting party to a product of another country must be extended unconditionally to a like product of all other contracting parties. A second rule of nondiscrimination is national treatment, the principle that imported and domestic goods should be treated equally. Although nondiscrimination is a cornerstone of the GATT, some exceptions are allowed. For example, customs unions, free-trade areas, and special treatment for developing countries are permitted.

    Another principle is the open and fair application of any trade barriers. Tariffs were the most common and visible form of trade barrier at the time the GATT was established. Tariffs are “bound,” or set at maximum levels, and not to increase above the negotiated level. In general, quantitative restrictions such as quotas were not allowed, since tariffs were much easier to identify and to eventually reduce.

    The GATT also included a forum and process for countries to follow in trying to resolve disputes. The dispute process allowed countries to consult with each other and if that was not successful, a country could ask that a panel hear the complaint. Although the panel’s decision was not enforceable, the panel report carried some force of opinion and encouraged countries to work toward an agreeable resolution.

    One of the GATT’s chief purposes was the reduction of barriers to trade. With this goal in mind, GATT contracting parties met periodically to negotiate further reduction of tariffs and other trade barriers and changes to GATT rules. These negotiations were called “rounds.” Early rounds dealt only with tariff reductions, but later rounds also included nontariff barriers to trade. The most recent round, the Uruguay Round, lasted from 1986 to 1994 and included the most encompassing set of negotiations in the history of the GATT. On the agenda was reform of the existing GATT system, as well as expansion of rules to cover new areas such as services trade and the trade aspects of intellectual property rights (copyrights, trademarks, and patents). The agreements that resulted from the Uruguay Round also contained a built-in agenda requiring that further negotiations on agriculture, services, intellectual property rights, and government procurement begin by the year 2000.

    One of the most important changes that came about from the Uruguay Round was the establishment of a new trade structure, the World Trade Organization (WTO), which incorporated the many changes reached during the Uruguay Round: the former GATT with its newly negotiated reforms, bodies to oversee the new trade agreements, a stronger dispute resolution procedure, a regular review of members’ trade policies, and many other committees and councils. In contrast to the GATT, the WTO was created as a permanent structure, with “members” instead of “contracting parties.” The WTO went into effect on January 1, 1995.

    There are 150 members of the WTO, representing over 95% of world trade, 31 observer governments (most of which have applied for membership in the WTO), and seven international organization observers. Members and observers are listed in Appendix A. All decisions are made by member countries, and decisions are usually by consensus.

    The WTO is located in Geneva, Switzerland. The WTO Secretariat assists member countries and numbered 625 in 2007. The WTO budget for the year 2007 is 182.0 million Swiss Francs (CHF), or about $151.7 million (1.20 CHF = $1, average for 2007).1 Countries contribute according to their share of world trade, based on trade in goods, services and intellectual property rights.2

    Decisions within the WTO are made by members, not staff, and they are made by consensus, not by formal vote. The highest level body in the WTO is the Ministerial Conference, which is the body of political representatives (trade ministers) from each member country. (See the WTO structure in Appendix B.) The Ministerial Conference examines current programs and sets the agenda for future work. It must meet at least every two years. The WTO’s Director-General is Pascal Lamy of France, whose three-year term began on September 1, 2005.3

    The first meeting of the Ministerial Conference was held in Singapore on December 9-13, 1996. At that meeting, trade ministers reviewed the work of the WTO, since its establishment and agreed on a work schedule for the next few years. They also approved an action plan for least-developed countries, and many members entered into an agreement to eliminate tariffs on information technology products by the year 2000. The second meeting of the Ministerial Conference was held in Geneva on May 18 and 20, 1998. Again, it reviewed the work of the WTO and approved a future work program. It called for an examination of issues related to global electronic commerce and started preparations for the next meeting.

    The third Ministerial Conference was held in Seattle on November 29-December 3, 1999. That meeting was intended to review an agenda for a new round of trade negotiations, but trade ministers could not reach agreement and suspended their work. The WTO Director-General was directed to consult with delegations and discuss ways in which countries might bridge remaining differences. Known as the “Battle at Seattle,” the Ministerial was characterized by street violence and anti-globalization protesters.

    The fourth Ministerial Conference was held in Doha, Qatar on November 9-14, 2001. At that meeting, trade ministers agreed to launch a new round of multilateral trade negotiations, called the Doha Development Agenda, and set a deadline for final agreements of January 1, 2005. They established a work program for the new round and agreed to consider numerous developing-country issues.4

    The fifth Ministerial Conference was held September 10-14, 2003, in Cancun, Mexico. According to the Ministerial Declaration released two years earlier in Doha, Qatar, the fifth Ministerial Conference was intended to “…take stock of progress in the negotiations, provide any necessary political guidance, and take decisions as necessary.” Many trade ministers at the Cancun Ministerial attempted to reach a framework to guide the remaining negotiations of the new round, but they could not resolve major differences, and the negotiations stalled.

    The sixth Ministerial Conference was held in Hong Kong on December 13-18,2005. Although an original goal of the Ministerial was to agree on a package of modalities for the ongoing Doha Development Agenda (DDA) round of trade negotiations, this aim was dropped and members agreed to some modest advancements in agriculture, industrial tariffs, and duty and quota-free access for least developed countries.

    The body that oversees the day-to-day operations of the WTO is the General Council, which consists of a representative from each member country. The Council generally meets monthly and provides a forum for countries to discuss a range of trade matters. The U.S. delegate to the General Council is the Deputy U.S. Trade Representative in Geneva.

    The General Council also meets in two other, unique capacities. One is the Trade Policy Review Mechanism (TPRM). The TPRM was established under the Uruguay Round agreements to allow closer monitoring of national trade policies of member countries. The four countries with the largest shares of world trade are reviewed every two years, the next 16 largest traders are reviewed every four years, and other countries are reviewed every six years, although least-developed countries might be reviewed less frequently. The trade reviews provide information on a country’s trade policies and comment on whether a country is pursuing market-opening or market-restrictive policies. This public examination is a mild form of pressure for a country to avoid practices that discourage trade.

    The General Council also meets in the capacity of the Dispute Settlement Body (DSB). The Uruguay Round agreements greatly strengthened the process for settlement of disputes. The first stage of the process is consultation between the governments involved. If consultation is not successful, the complainant may ask the DSB to establish a dispute panel. The dispute panel hears the case and reports back to the DSB. If the complaint is upheld, the respondent must either change its practice or negotiate an agreeable resolution. Otherwise, the complainant may request that the DSB authorize suspension of obligations, thereby giving permission for the complainant to retaliate. For example, a complainant may receive permission to increase tariffs against a respondent country that disregards a decision by the DSB. Permission is automatic unless unanimously disapproved. Procedures are clearly set out with specific timetables at each stage.

    More specialized work is done in three major bodies under the General Council. One of these is the Council for Trade in Goods, under which committees work on a number of trade areas. One committee works on trade in agriculture. Another committee oversees the related topic of sanitary and phytosanitary measures, which are measures that pertain respectively to animal and plant health and safety. Some committees monitor practices that are considered “unfair” if not implemented in accordance with WTO rules (antidumping, subsidies and countervailing measures). Other committees examine practices that are not necessarily “unfair” but could be trade-distorting nonetheless (rules of origin, safeguards, technical barriers, customs valuation, and import licensing). One committee works on the relatively new area of trade-related investment measures, and another addresses market access issues (tariffs and nontariff measures). Also under the Council for Trade in Goods is the Information Technology Agreement Committee.

    A second major body under the General Council is the Council for Trade in Services, which oversees the Uruguay Round agreement on trade in services. The Uruguay Round services agreement has three parts. The first part lists basic principles that countries agree to observe, including national treatment, most-favored-nation treatment, and transparency (open information about relevant laws and regulations). The second part contains four annexes with rules on: (1) the movement of persons who provide services, (2) financial services, (3) telecommunications, and (4) air transport services. The third part is a schedule of country commitments. These commitments are bound and cannot be reduced in scope, much like the tariff levels on goods, which cannot be increased once they are bound. The service commitments may include exceptions to the national treatment and most-favored-nation principles, if countries included these exceptions when they originally negotiated the commitments.

    The Council for Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) is the third major body under the General Council. The TRIPS Council monitors the agreement on intellectual property rights reached during the Uruguay Round and supervises members’ compliance. The TRIPS agreement has three parts. The first part outlines basic principles that countries must observe, including national treatment and most-favored-nation treatment. The second part establishes standards for the different types of intellectual property rights such as patents, trademarks, copyrights, industrial designs, and geographical indications (e.g., “champagne” indicates a wine from a specific region), and ensures minimum lengths of time for protections. The third part of the agreement establishes enforcement processes.

    In addition to the bodies discussed above, there are many other committees and working groups under the General Council. For example, there are working groups on trade, debt, and finance and on trade and transfer of technology. There are committees on plurilateral agreements, which are not signed by all WTO members, on civil aircraft and on government procurement. The Committee on Trade and Development often works with other international institutions on special concerns of countries in development. Working parties on accession meet with applicant countries to identify changes that are necessary to bring the applicant’s trade regime into line with WTO rules and principles. The Uruguay Round also established a committee on trade and environment.

    Congressional debate involving the WTO has focused on several major issues. These concern: (1) achievement of U.S. trade goals through a multilateral forum; (2) assurance of U.S. sovereignty in trade decisions; (3) the WTO dispute process and U.S. interests; (4) traditional and nontraditional topics in the WTO; and (5) the congressional role in U.S. participation in the WTO.

    1. To what extent are U.S. trade goals achieved through the WTO’s multilateral forum, compared to other means such as bilateral or regional trade agreements or unilateral action? The WTO has many benefits for the United States: it provides the only multilateral dispute mechanism for international trade, administers rules to discourage discrimination, and ensures greater security on how trade will be conducted. However, some criticize the WTO as slow-moving and cumbersome because of its large membership, varied national interests, and consensus-based decisionmaking. One alternative is to pursue U.S. goals through another multilateral body. For example, the United States and other (mostly developed) countries have pursued negotiations on shipbuilding and investment in the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, but with mixed success. Another option is to pursue trade benefits through regional or bilateral agreements. These agreements can offer benefits to U.S. exporters and are easier to negotiate. However, some contend that regional and bilateral agreements create trade diversion and may distract the United States and other countries from potentially greater benefits from multilateral negotiations.

    2. Can the United States maintain its sovereignty as a member of the WTO? Some critics of the WTO have raised the question of whether the United States will lose its sovereignty as a member of the WTO. As a member, the United States does commit to act in accordance with the rules of the multilateral body. Article XVI(4) of the Agreement Establishing the World Trade Agreement, states, “Each Member shall ensure the conformity of its laws, regulations and administrative procedures with its obligations as provided in the annexed Agreements.” Those annexed Agreements are the agreements reached during the Uruguay Round covering trade in goods, trade in services, intellectual property rights, dispute settlement, and other trade areas. The WTO, however, cannot force members to adhere to their obligations. The United States and any other WTO member may act in its own national interest. The WTO recognizes certain allowable exceptions such as national security. However, any multilateral institution is only as strong as its members’ adherence to the institution’s rules. If the United States or another member country chooses to take unilateral action contrary to WTO rules, that action may weaken the institution. It is a decision for U.S. policymakers whether the discipline imposed by the WTO is an acceptable cost for the benefits of an open trading system.the world trade organization was formed in or

    3. Are U.S. interests served through the WTO dispute process? The United States realizes several benefits from the existence of a multilateral forum for trade disputes. Such a forum in general allows countries to peacefully resolve disputes without having to resort to more drastic measures. The WTO dispute process presents a clear, understandable set of rules to be followed, and the process is nondiscriminatory among countries.5 The United States has been relatively successful in using the process as a complainant. As of October 2006, the U.S. Trade Representative reports that 24 cases were resolved to U.S. satisfaction without litigation; 26 cases were won by the United States on core issues; in 4 cases the United States did not prevail on core issues; and 24 other cases were in panel stage, in consultation, or monitoring progress or otherwise inactive.6

    There are many complaints about the WTO dispute settlement process. In some cases, countries have not adhered to dispute panels’ findings. An example is the U.S. complaint against European Union (EU) trade restrictions on imports of beef produced with hormones. Critics say that some cases are filed for political, not economic, reasons. For example, some analysts say that the EU took no action for years against a U.S. tax benefit for exports (the Foreign Sales Corporation), but then filed a challenge after a U.S. win in another case. Finally, the United States as defendant has lost several cases involving trade remedies, and this has led some Members of Congress to charge that the WTO dispute panels are assuming too much authority in interpreting trade agreements. The United States has not done well as a respondent. As of October 2006, the United States won 14 cases on core issues but did not prevail in 30 cases, while 17 cases were resolved without completing litigation, 10 cases were in the litigation or appellate stage, and 22 cases were either in pre-litigation consultation stage or inactive.7

    4. Should the WTO cover traditional trade issues only, or should it be broadened to include nontraditional issues such as labor and the environment? The GATT agreement first established rules only on border measures (tariffs and quotas) and later added rules on certain internal practices that clearly had direct effects on trade in goods (e.g., subsidies, government procurement). The Uruguay Round agreements further expanded trade rules to cover new areas such as trade in services and intellectual property rights. U.S. businesses generally want the WTO to refrain from extending beyond these traditionally trade-related issues, because they argue that the greatest export opportunities will be achieved only if negotiators focus on trade barriers and do not include social factors.

    Many groups, however, argue that the WTO should be expanded to include non-traditional topics. Two topics that have been at the center of current trade debate are labor and the environment. Labor groups argue that many countries exploit workers, including children, to produce low-cost products for foreign markets. Environmental groups want more consideration of the environmental effects of the production of goods for trade included under WTO rules. Recently, there has been discussion about the possible role of the WTO in enforcing potential future climate change obligations. There is strong disagreement domestically on traditional and nontraditional topics in trade negotiations. Internationally, countries hold a wide range of positions on this question.

    5. What is the role of Congress in how the United States participates in the WTO? Although the executive branch maintains a staff in Geneva and conducts trade negotiations in the WTO, Congress has an important role in how the United States participates in the WTO through its constitutional authority over the conduct of foreign commerce. In trade promotion authority (TPA) legislation (P.L. 107-210) that approved expedited procedures for legislation to implement trade agreements passed in 2002, Congress prescribed trade objectives for U.S. negotiators and required the executive branch to consult with it. During negotiations, Congress maintains oversight, and the Congressional Oversight Group, which was established under P.L. 107-210, has an active advisory role. Once an implementing bill has been introduced, Congress decides whether or not to approve those legislative changes necessary to implement the trade agreement. The current TPA legislation expired in July 2007, and Congress may renew or extend TPA if a Doha Round agreement is reached. Congress may also consider changes to U.S. trade laws in response to possible adverse rulings under WTO Dispute Settlement procedures.

    The congressional role described above has evolved to help coordinate and streamline activities of the executive and legislative branches on trade matters, but this role is continually debated and reevaluated. Many of those involved in the debate question whether this executive-legislative relationship is still useful or appropriate. The Administration has called for greater authority in trade negotiations, saying that the need for repeated reauthorization of trade promotion authority interrupts U.S. trade policy and keeps the United States from participating in trade negotiations. However, many Members assert that Congress has given up too much of its constitutional role and should have a stronger hand in trade policy formulation and in oversight of trade negotiations.

    Periodically, Congress also has the opportunity to vote to withdraw from the WTO. Under the Uruguay Round Agreements Act (P.L. 103-465), the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) must submit to the Congress every five years a report that analyzes the costs and benefits of continued U.S. participation in the WTO. Once Congress receives this comprehensive report, any Member of Congress may introduce a joint resolution withdrawing congressional approval of the Agreement establishing the WTO. This report was issued in 2005 on the tenth anniversary of U.S. accession to the WTO, and House Members considered a joint resolution (H.J.Res. 27) to withdraw congressional approval of the agreement establishing the WTO. The House Ways and Means Committee reported the resolution adversely on May 26, 2005, and the full House disapproved the resolution by a vote of 338-86 on June 9, 2005. Debate on the resolution offered Members an opportunity to examine the costs and benefits of WTO participation and examine other aspects of WTO membership.

    Appendix A. WTO Members (as of January 2008)

    Table A-1. Members (151)

    Albania

    Dominica

    Kyrgyz Republic

    Qatar

    Angola

    Dominican Republic

    Latvia

    Romania

    Antigua & Barbuda

    Ecuador

    Lesotho

    Rwanda

    Argentina

    Egypt

    Liechtenstein

    Saint Kitts and Nevis

    Armenia

    El Salvador

    Lithuania

    Saint Lucia

    Australia

    Estonia

    Luxembourg

    Saint Vincent and the Grenadines

    Austria

    European Communities

    Macao, China

    Saudi Arabia

    Bahrain

    Fiji

    Madagascar

    Senegal

    Bangladesh

    Finland

    Malawi

    Sierra Leone

    Barbados

    Macedonia

    Malaysia

    Singapore

    Belgium

    France

    Maldives

    Slovak Republic

    Belize

    Gabon

    Mali

    Slovenia

    Benin

    The Gambia

    Malta

    Solomon Islands

    Bolivia

    Georgia

    Mauritania

    South Africa

    Botswana

    Germany

    Mauritius

    Spain

    Brazil

    Ghana

    Mexico

    Sri Lanka

    Brunei Darussalam

    Greece

    Moldova

    Suriname

    Bulgaria

    Grenada

    Mongolia

    Swaziland

    Burkina Faso

    Guatemala

    Morocco

    Sweden

    Burundi

    Guinea

    Mozambique

    Switzerland

    Cambodia

    Guinea Bissau

    Myanmar

    Chinese Taipei

    Cameroon

    Guyana

    Namibia

    Tanzania

    Canada

    Haiti

    Nepal

    Thailand

    Central Africa Republic

    Honduras

    Netherlands/ Netherlands Antilles

    Togo

    Chad

    Hong Kong, China

    New Zealand

    Tonga

    Chile

    Hungary

    Nicaragua

    Trinidad and Tobago

    China

    Iceland

    Niger

    Tunisia

    Colombia

    India

    Nigeria

    Turkey

    Congo

    Indonesia

    Norway

    Uganda

    Costa Rica

    Ireland

    Oman

    Cote d’Ivoire

    Israel

    Pakistan

    United Arab Emirates

    Croatia

    Italy

    Panama

    United Kingdom

    Cuba

    Jamaica

    Papua New Guinea

    United States

    Cyprus

    Japan

    Paraguay

    Uruguay

    Czech Republic

    Jordan

    Peru

    Venezuela

    D R Congo

    Kenya

    Philippines

    Vietnam

    Denmark

    Korea, Republic of

    Poland

    Zambia

    Djibouti

    Kuwait

    Portugal

    Zimbabwe

    Source: World Trade Organization web page http://www.wto.org/.

    Table A-2. Observer Governments (31)

    Afghanistan

    Holy See (Vatican)

    Serbia

    Algeria

    Iran

    Seychelles

    Andorra

    Iraq

    Sudan

    Azerbaijan

    Kazakhstan

    Tajikistan

    Bahamas

    Laos

    Ukraine

    Belarus

    Lebanon

    Uzbekistan

    Bhutan

    Libya

    Vanuatu

    Bosnia and Herzegovina

    Montenegro

    Yemen

    Cape Verdea

    Russian Federation

    Equatorial Guinea

    Samoa

    Ethiopia

    Sao Tome and Principe

    Source: World Trade Organization web page http://www.wto.org/.

    a. Cape Verde’s accession was approved by the General Council on December 18, 2007. It will become a member after domestic ratification of the accession agreement..

    Table A-3. International Organization Observers to General Council (8)

    Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO)

    United Nations (U.N.)

    International Monetary Fund (IMF)

    United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD)

    International Trade Centre (ITC)

    World Bank

    Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD)

    World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO)

    Source: World Trade Organization web page http://www.wto.org/.

    Appendix B. WTO Structure

    All WTO members may participate in all councils, committees, etc., except Appellate Body, Dispute Settlement panels, Textiles Monitoring Body, and plurilateral committees. The negotiations mandated by the Doha Declaration take place in the Trade Negotiations Committee and its subsidiaries.


    Figure B-1. WTO Structure

    Source: World Trade Organization web page at http://www.wto.org/.

    Acknowledgments

    This report was originally written with Lenore M. Sek, Specialist in International Trade and Finance, FDT..

    The total WTO budget includes CHF176.9 million CHF for the WTO Secretariat and CHF 5.1 million for the Appellate Body and its Secretariat. See WTO Annual Report 2007, p. 112.

    In FY2007, the U.S. share was 14.9% of total contributions to the WTO budget, which came to CHF 26.8 million ($22.3 million) in 2007. Ibid, p. 118.

    The institution of the WTO is examined in a 2004 report by leading experts to Director-General Supachai Panitchpakdi. See, Consultative Board, Peter Sutherland (Chair). The Future of the WTO: Addressing Institutional Challenges in the New Millennium. World Trade Organization, 2004. 86 p. Available at the WTO website http://www.wto.org.

    For more information on results of the Doha Ministerial Conference, see CRS Report RL31206, The WTO Doha Ministerial: Results and Agenda for a New Round of Negotiations, coordinated by [author name scrubbed] (pdf).

    For information on the WTO dispute process, see CRS Report RS20088, Dispute Settlement in the World Trade Organization: An Overview, by [author name scrubbed].

    See the U.S. Trade Representative, “Snapshot of WTO Cases involving the United States,” http://www.ustr.gov/assets/Trade_Agreements/Monitoring_Enforcement/Dispute_Settlement/WTO/asset_upload_file962_5696.pdf.

    Ibid.

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    The World Trade Organization (WTO) is a global organization made up of 164 member countries that deals with the rules of trade between nations. Its goal is to ensure that trade flows as smoothly and predictably as possible. 

    As part of his broader attempts to renegotiate the United States’ global trade deals, former President Donald Trump threatened to withdraw from the WTO in August 2018, calling it a “disaster.” If the U.S. had moved to withdraw from the organization, trillions of dollars in global trade would have been disrupted.

    However, this was not the first time the WTO has come under scrutiny. You may remember seeing news footage of the protests at the doors of the World Trade Organization’s (WTO) Third Ministerial Conference held in Seattle, Washington in 1999. Similar demonstrations against the WTO have also occurred in Canada and Switzerland. What is the WTO, and why do so many people oppose it? The following article addresses these questions and concerns regarding the world’s only international organization that deals with the global rules of trade.

    The WTO was born out of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT), which was established in 1947. GATT was part of the Bretton Woods-inspired family, including the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and World Bank. A series of trade negotiations, GATT rounds began at the end of World War II and were aimed at reducing tariffs for the facilitation of global trade.

    The rationale for GATT was based on the most-favored-nation (MFN) clause, which, when assigned to one country by another, gives the selected country privileged trading rights. As such, GATT aimed to help all countries obtain MFN-like status so no single country would hold a trading advantage over others.
    the world trade organization was formed in or

    The WTO replaced GATT as the world’s global trading body in 1995, and the current set of governing rules stems from the Uruguay Round of GATT negotiations, which took place from 1986 to 1994. GATT trading regulations established between 1947 and 1994 (and in particular those negotiated during the Uruguay Round) remain the primary rule book for multilateral trade in goods. Specific sectors such as agriculture have been addressed, as well as issues dealing with anti-dumping.

    The Uruguay Round also laid the foundations for regulating trade in services. The General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS) is the guideline directing multilateral trade in services. Intellectual property rights were addressed in the establishment of regulations protecting the trade and investment of ideas, concepts, designs, patents, and so forth.

    The purpose of the WTO is to ensure global trade commences smoothly, freely, and predictably. The WTO creates and embodies the ground rules for global trade among member nations, offering a system for international commerce. The WTO aims to create economic peace and stability in the world through a multilateral system based on consenting member states. The WTO has 164 members that have ratified the rules of the WTO in their individual countries as well. This means WTO rules become part of a country’s domestic legal system. The rules thus apply to local companies conducting business in the international arena.

    If a company decides to invest in a foreign country by, for example, setting up an office in that country, the rules of the WTO (and hence, a country’s local laws) will govern how that can be done. Theoretically, if a country is a member of the WTO, its local laws cannot contradict WTO rules and regulations, which currently govern approximately 96.4% of all world trade.

    The current director-general of the World Trade Organization is Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala from Nigeria. Decisions are made by consensus, though a majority vote may also rule (this is very rare). Based in Geneva, Switzerland, the Ministerial Conference, which holds meetings at least every two years, makes the top decisions.

    There is also a goods council, services council, and intellectual property rights council, which all report to a general council, in addition to many working groups and committees.

  • who is the lead singer of the cure?
  • If a trade dispute occurs, the WTO works to resolve it. If for example, a country erects a trade barrier in the form of a customs duty against a particular country or a particular good, the WTO may issue trade sanctions against the violating country. The WTO will also work to resolve the conflict through negotiations.

    The anti-WTO protests we have seen around the world are a response to the consequences of establishing a multilateral trading system. Critics say the after-effects of WTO policies are undemocratic because of the lack of transparency during negotiations.

    Opponents also argue since the WTO functions as a global authority on trade, and it’s within its rights to review a country’s domestic trade policies, national sovereignty is compromised. For example, regulations a country may wish to establish to protect its industry, workers, or environment could be considered barriers to the WTO’s aim to facilitate free trade.

    A country may have to sacrifice its own interests to avoid violating WTO agreements. Thus, a country becomes limited in its choices. Moreover, brutal regimes that are pernicious to their own countries may inadvertently be receiving concealed support from foreign governments who continue, in the name of free trade, to do business with these regimes. Unfavorable governments in favor of big business, therefore, remain in power at the cost of a representative government.

    One high-profile WTO controversy has to do with intellectual property rights and a government’s duty to its citizens versus a global authority. One well-known example is HIV/AIDS treatments and the cost of patented medicines. Poor countries, such as those in South America and sub-Saharan Africa, simply cannot afford to buy these patented drugs. If they were to buy or manufacture these same drugs under an affordable generic label, which would save thousands of lives, these countries would, as members of the WTO, be in violation of intellectual property rights agreements and subject to possible trade sanctions.

    Free trade fosters investment into other countries, which can help boost the economy and eventually the standard of living of all countries involved. As most investment flows from the developed and economically powerful countries into the developing and less-influential economies, there is, however, a tendency for the system to give the investor an advantage.

    Regulations that facilitate the investment process are in the investor’s interest because these regulations help foreign investors maintain an edge over local competition. As several countries, including the United States, strengthen their protectionist stance on trade, the future of the World Trade Organization remains complex and unclear.

    World Trade Organization. “Members and Observers.” Accessed May 2, 2021.

    The White House. “Remarks by President Trump in Listening Session with Representatives from the Steel and Aluminum Industry.” Accessed May 2, 2021.

    Congressional Research Service. “World Trade Organization: Overview and Future Direction,” Page 2. Accessed May 2, 2021.

    Seattle Municipal Archives. “World Trade Organization Protests in Seattle.” Accessed Mar. 30, 2020.

    International Centre for Trade and Sustainable Development. “WTO Protests Mushrooming Around the Globe.” Accessed Mar. 30, 2020.

    World Trade Observer. “Protestors Raise Hell in Geneva.” Accessed Mar. 30, 2020.

    World Trade Organization. “History of the Multilateral Trading System.” Accessed May 2, 2021.

    World Trade Organization. “Principles of the Trading System.” Accessed May 2, 2021.

    World Trade Organization. “The Uruguay Round.” Accessed May 2, 2021.

    World Trade Organization. “What Are Intellectual Property Rights?” Accessed May 2, 2021.

    World Trade Organization. “What We Do.” Accessed May 2, 2021.

    World Trade Organization. “Accession in Perspective.” Accessed Mar. 30, 2020.

    World Trade Organization. “WTO Director-General.” Accessed May 2, 2021.

    World Trade Organization. “Ministerial Conferences.” Accessed May 2, 2021.

    World Trade Organization. “Top 10 Reasons to Oppose the World Trade Organization? Criticism, Yes…Misinformation, No!” Accessed May 2, 2021.

    World Health Organization. “Access to AIDS Medicines Stumbles on Trade Rules.” Accessed May 2, 2021.


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    the world trade organization was formed in or
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